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i xx. 





LIB RAHY 

OF THE 

U N I VERS ITY 

or 1LLI NOIS 



823 
J 945 

v.2 






!E 




■«2 























JULIET. 



" The lyfe so short, the craft so long to learn, 
The assay so hard, so s?i irp the conquering." 

Chauceb. 

" I ask thee for a faithful love, 

Through constant watching, wise." 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. II. 




LONDON 

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON ST. 

Ijublisjws in ©rbinarg to |jcr gtajestg ibe Quern. 

1883. 



r% 3 




CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

Truth will Out l 

CHAPTER II. 
Two Letters 2 5 

CHAPTER III. 
"It is You!" 54 

CHAPTER IV. 
Overcome 7^ 

CHAPTER V. 
The Gilberts n 5 



iv COXTEXT.i 



u 



CHAPTER VI. 

PAGE 

What Exile from Himself can Flee?" . 143 



CHAPTER VII. 

Waiting 177 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Discoveries 206 

CHAPTER IX. 
"Where, Why, When?" 245 

CHAPTER X. 
Complications 259 



JULIET. 



CHAPTER I. 



TRUTH WILL OUT. 



The more Juliet thought of this douche the 
less she liked it. It had pulled her up sud- 
denly just as she was feeling certain that sh:i 
could safely enter Paradise ; and it was not 
so much the remark itself as the caution of it 
that struck her. Whatever BrunskuTs mis- 
givings were, he evidently inclined to the 
utmost limit of charity ; and in this case she 
felt somehow as though the charity assumed 
alarming proportions. 



VOL. II. 



2 JULIET. 

"After all, I shall have to discuss him 
with Miss Gliddon," she thought, after long 
reflection, in which a feeling of uneasiness 
increased upon her, in spite of all effort to 
throw it off; "and I would so much rather 
not have done so ! Women are far quicker 
than men ; but I believe, however far I were 
to push it with Brunskill, I should get no- 
thing more out of him, for evidently it is not 
yet a case of conviction, but only of impres- 
sion. 

She had not the faintest idea that the 
conviction was to rush upon herself first, and 
that, too, in overwhelming force. 

"What a fine man Brunskill is," she said, 
that same evening, when she and Miss 
Gliddon were knitting over the fire. They 
had just been having a learned discussion 
over the intricacies of knitting, Miss Gliddon 
having been unable to repress her delighted 
astonishment when Juliet came down with 
a half-finished stocking in her hands, and 



TRUTH WILL OUT 



proved herself as ready to be silent or to 
listen as to talk. 

" He's an uncommonly fine fellow," Miss 
Gliddon said. " Always impresses one some- 
how as having distinguishing merits above 
the average, and yet in his own opinion he 
is undeniably faulty. It distresses him to be 
told he is unusually good. I believe he con- 
siders himself one of the most selfish of men, 
instead of which he is the most unselfish.'' 

" Does he ever say anything about his 
early life?" Juliet asked. 

11 Never a word, my dear. It is as closely 
hidden as a snail in its shell. I confess to 
feeling inquisitive ; but he is the sort of man 
to abash one by his simple surprise if one be 
so vulgar as to show one's curiosity. He has 
some history, of course." 

" He told me to-day that he came here 
from Carlisle," said Juliet ; "but I am certain 
he only told me so much as that because he 
feared my suspicions were tending in another 



4 JULIET. 

direction that might prove the right one. I 
always felt that he had a history, that some 
mystery was attached to him ; but if it were 
nothing personally shameful, why should he 
not divulge it ? Of course, it's impossible to 
think for a moment that he has done anything 
scandalous. Do you think he had a trouble 
— a disappointment — before coming here ?' 

" Do you mean in love ? I used to think 
that might be the sore point ; but I don't 
now. I'm certain he's the man only to care 
for one girl, and that passionately, with the 
devotion of his whole life. He is so chival- 
rous ; so romantic. His simplicity is as- 
tounding." 

''What do you mean?' Juliet asked, 
putting down her knitting and leaning back 
in her chair. 

"Well, this is his creed in those mat- 
ters," Miss Gliddon said, in an aggrieved 
tone, as though resentful of her own admira- 
tion of it : " He loves a girl, and has 



TRUTH WILL OUT 



done for years, trying again and again to 
show her his love, but not yet having suf- 
ficient to permit him to speak to her. He 
lives in alternate hope and fear, that she 
understands him or does not. But she is 
unselfconscious, not greed v of admiration, 
caring, indeed, nothing about admiration, but 
only for affection. She does not understand 
him, her fancy drifts to a bolder man of 
selfish assurance, who tells her outright that 
he loves her ; and one day Brunskill awakes 
to the fact that her heart is not his but that 
other's. It neither kills nor embitters him. 
Once assured that she is happy, he says 
cheerfully that it is all right. ' She is happy. 
If she is, I shall be in thinking of her. I 
shall always love her.' It's the sort of thing 
that I call a tragedy ; but I don't suppose he 
even thinks sufficiently of himself to do 
so much as that," Miss Gliddon finished, 
dryly. 

"He has no spirit," Juliet exclaimed. 



6 JULIET. 

"He would make a good husband ; he should 
marry some one else." 

" He never would." 

" Has he told you all this ? ' 

"Oh, dear, no! He has never named it. 
But he looks, he acts, he is determined that 
it shall help him to do better work in the 
world than he has done before. He thinks 
he has been a dreamer ; now he will be an 
actor." 

" Good gracious ! how you think about 
each other here ! " 

" We have plenty of time, and there is no 
whirl of new faces about us. Most of us both 
rise and set, in or about one spot, you know. 
Nothing interests us so much as each other." 

"I see," said Juliet. " You make the 
most of the little that happens, and you mean 
that this really has been happening to Mr. 
Brunskill. Who is the girl ? I should not 
have thought there was anyone here likely to 
take his fancy." 



TRUTH WILL OUT. 



" There is no one but her, certainly/' Miss 
Gliddon said. " Molly Murdock, of Alder- 
dale." 

Juliet laughed, sitting bolt upright, with 
sparkling eyes. 

" Why, he would be the very husband 
for her ! " she exclaimed. " And why in the 
world won't she have him, the goose ? Oh, 
you said she was fond of some one else ; 
some worthless, I suppose. Who is it ? ' 

" Her cousin, Noll Ormrod. He is en- 
gaged to her," said Miss Gliddon. 
" Impossible!' Juliet exclaimed. 
Her voice was so sharp, so harsh, that 
Miss Gliddon looked up in astonishment. 
" Why, my dear ? " she asked, mildly. 
" Why!" A thousand stinging reasons 
were buzzing in her brain, setting it on fire, 
while a steel-cold scintillation seemed to con- 
tradict it in her eyes ! But her presence of 
mind did not forsake her. She jerked her 
ball of wool off her lap, it rolled along the 



8 JULIET. 

floor, and she stooped to pick it up, drawing 
it towards her with lengthened care. Then 
she proceeded to re-wind it, her head held 
proudly, her hands steady. 

They talked on some time longer. Miss 
Gliddon's surprise had not amounted to sus- 
picion, and Juliet was perfectly composed. 
It was easy to extract full details. She knew 
from the moment of the announcement that 
there was no mistake, no loop-hole, even the 
size of a pin's head, in which to frame any 
extenuation ; the truth mi^ht stin^ and tingle 
at every turn, but nothing could either excuse 
or justify Ormrod's course of conduct. It 
had been cruel and cowardly. 

In the white heat of the shock, before 
rage had given way to misery, she called it 
by worse names than those ; dubbed herself 
fool ! in stern scorn of her weakness, and 
her trust, and her belief in him. This, that 
had come to pass, was the last thing of which 
she would have thought ; the only thing she 



TRUTH WILL OUT. 



had not imagined. It was not that she in- 
ferred that he did not love her. She knew 
he did, and considered the fact a dishonour, a 
humiliation. But he had deceived her, and 
not her so wickedly, so heartlessly, as another 
woman to whom he was pledged, who had a 
claim upon him, and probably knew as little 
as she herself had done, that she was deceived. 

She became intensely wishful to see Molly. 
What was this girl, her rival, like ? 

So this was the result of Brunskill's inter- 
est, of Ormrod's brotherliness, of the readings 
of master and pupils in the fields, the fasci- 
nating attention to Evangeline, and Miles 
Standish, and Enoch Arden, and such like 
sickly stuff, easy of digestion, and conducive 
to rampant sentimentality ! She was strong 
enough to put self aside, to view it dispas- 
sionately and impartially for a while, to 
realize Ormrod's reckless selfishness. Bruns- 
kill might have withstood the fascinations 
and allurements of the world ; have walked 



io JULIET. 

among fair and clever women of fashion and 
wit, still wholly true-hearted and pure-souled 
to the one woman left among the hills like a 
jewel in its setting, loving her the more for the 
distance, and her undecked simplicity's sake ; 
but he was a rare man, and Ormrod, no, 
Ormrod was not. Juliet thought she had 
drawn a prize ; she looked at it now on all 
sides, and found it was a blank. Simply to 
gratify himself must Ormrod have done this 
thing, in utter thoughtless selfishness pledged 
himself to the first who had taken his fancy, 
won her love and trust, and turned them into 
shuttlecocks without a qualm, or a pang, or 
a single conscientious scruple, then degraded 
another woman by transferring his attentions 
to her. Naturally, the question occurred to 
her — '"What is his affection worth?' She 
thought she had had the first-fruits, instead 
of which, he had perjured himself to give her 
anything. She recalled his guilty glance at 

■4 

her, his urgent entreaty to her not to come to 



TRUTH WILL OUT. n 



Moorhead, and yet he had let her come with- 
out a word of preparation. After all — could 
he love her, and yet do her this great wrong ? 
Could he know that she loved him ? Pray 
God that he did not ! 

She was standing in her own room, the 
candle extinguished, the blind up, and the 
moonshine pouring in upon her white arms, 
and the heavy masses of her unbound hair. 
Her face was drawn and haggard, her eyes 
dim and wild. Suddenly her arms went up. 
above her head in the old action, that seemed 
to fling off misery and compel relief, to chisel 
light through the storm-drifts. 

11 I suffer ! " she said aloud, in a low voice 
of dull hopelessness. 

And then, in a moment, came a sharp 
cry : 

-Oh, Noll, Noll, Noll!" 

A few days after this they went to Alder- 
dale. She knew the full details now of 



12 JULIET. 

Molly's illness. At first she had clutched at 
a vain hope. Was it possible that Ormrod 
had written to her to break off his engage- 
ment, and that grief had increased her sus- 
ceptibility to disease and delirium ? But 
what good would such a peremptory course 
of action do ? It would avail nothing. She 
saw clearly, though he might not, that it 
would only have made one more unhappy 
heart. 

It was a tiring" walk for her that daw to 
Alderdale ; a close and sultrv autumn dav 
when the sense of decaying vegetation, the 
rank earthy smells, the warm glories of crim- 
soning mountain-ash, and golden sycamore, 
and russet oak, yield the depressing sense 
that the trees will soon be bare, dead leaves 
rattling in the wind, grass bound in frost or 
covered in snow ; that winter is coming, and 
what hopes the year has fulfilled, are gar- 
nered. To Juliet, it seemed that the fields 
were interminable, the irregularities of the 



TRUTH WILL OUT 13 

ground wearying, beyond any she had ever 
known. Miss Gliddon was in a talkative 
mood ; had a history to repeat about every 
farmstead they passed, clod-hopping details 
of all the Eliases, and Richards, and Simons, 
and Bettys, and Pollys, and Margets, who 
were " getting-up," or " getting-on," from end 
to end of the parish. Fortunately, her volu- 
bility was, in itself, conclusive, and Juliet's 
preoccupied assents and dissents did not pass 
as so random as they were. 

She roused from her abstraction as they 
neared Alderdale, looking round at it all in 
vivid remembrance. The old, time-worn 
Grange looked no older for the years that 
had passed since she last saw it, merely 
adding to its hoary lichens and patches of 
amber moss. Indeed, what were a few years 
to it? It had withstood the centuries ; housed 
travellers in the times of the Henrys ; seen 
fat monks come from Fountains Abbey to 
cast keen calculative eyes over the flocks 



14 JULIET. 

and their shepherds, given a night's lodging 
to good Queen Bess, sent forth its fighting 
men to swell Cromwell's armies. Molly 
Murdock's girlhood was as a drop into the 
ocean, where all these things were ; the hoar 
house, the big plane trees, the river slipping 
by, the brown moors round, had seen many 
a stirring sight in days gone by, rejoiced in 
many a feast and dignity. It was all basking 
in the sun to-day, set grey and serene amid 
the glory of gold bracken edges and crimson 
barberry in the garden, and great swing- 
ing bunches of red berries on the rowan 
trees. 

Murdock was in the kitchen when they 
went in, standing on a stool, and chalking 
his accounts on one of the massive oak 
beams, but he dropped off as soon as he saw 
them, and went out without speaking. Xo 
one else was visible, the sand on the floor 
crunched under their tread ; now and then 
the tire hissed, as it curled round some sappy 



TRUTH WILL OUT. 15 

faggots laid athwart it. Juliet felt the silent 
emptiness keenly. Upstairs they could hear 
voices. Miss Gliddon said she was going 
upstairs, would Juliet come too ? There was 
no danger of any kind, no infection to fear, no 
chance of a stranger doing Molly harm. The 
crisis had not been reached yet ; she would 
be unconscious, perhaps delirious, that was 
all. The colour flew to Juliet's face. For 
a moment she hesitated, then followed reso- 
lutely. 

Tamar met them at the bedroom door. 
Molly was talking, but a word was rarely 
distinguishable ; the first horror had spent 
itself, and her strength was at a low ebb. Miss 
Gliddon stooped and kissed her. Juliet took 
hold of one of the posts at the bottom of 
the bed, and compelled herself to look at the 
flushed face on the pillows. Her look was 
eager, scrutinizing, hopeful, in spite of her 
best self — that there might not be prettiness 
or refinement in that face. But there were 



1 6 JULIET. 

both, and she felt herself hardening — harden- 
ing into ice-cold reserve, without one impulse 
to sympathy or pity. Wild thoughts, how- 
ever, were surging through her brain ; her 
touch on the bed-post became a clutch. Was 
this girl going to die ? Would not this 
burning, exhausting fever kill her or mar her, 
leave her alive perhaps, but blind or deaf, or 
miserably weak, and then irritable and un- 
lovely ? Of what would it rob her ? Surely 
of something, one of the gifts nature had 
bestowed on her ; it must have some pur- 
pose, else why had it been sent ? Then her 
eyes fell on Molly's hair that lay disordered 
on the pillow ; it was lovely hair, crisp, 
wavy, glossy brown, meshed with gold — it 
would be something that she should lose 
that. 

Miss Gliddon and Tamar were talking all 
the time about Murdock and Brunskill. It 
seemed that there were particulars still to be 
heard for which there had been no opportu- 



TRUTH WILL OUT. 17 

nity in her first visit. Tamar was just finish- 
ing off the story in an emphatic undertone 
and her strongest vernacular. 

" his face, why it was deathly, he 

has sike feelings, sae Strang. Me and the 
others speered him coming with her pressed 
tull him, and I made to tak her, but he 
motioned-like upstairs, and sae I went first 
and he cam on, and Hgged her doon on her 
bed, that had niver been hollowed all night ; 
and then he bent ower and looked, ay, with 
a whole warld o' love in his eyes, and then 
he kissed her, not in a hurry, but all saft, as 
if she'd been dead and in her coffin and cold. 
But for all it war sae saft, it war a mighty kiss, 
it cracked on sae much that he'd never said 
out. It gave me a choke in my throat, it 
did that. Eh, it war sike a consarn alto- 
gether. I said nowt, I couldna, and that's 
the truth. I thought on Noll, but somehow 
she seemed more his, the Master's, in God's 
siVht. Then he off down, the stairs like a 

o 

VOL. II. 2 



1 8 JULIET. 

flash, and galloped seven mile frev here to 

Newbrig in half an " 

Just then Juliet touched her arm, pointing 
to Molly's hair. 

" I would cut it off if I were you," she 
said, " I would indeed. It would relieve her 
head ; when we all had fever at Marshlands, 
they did it at once." 

" What a notion," cried Tamar, eyeing 
her defiantly. 

" But if it would do her <^ood ■ I know it 
is usual," said Miss Gliddon. 

" It is," said Juliet, dispassionately. u It 
is the very best thing. Give me some 
scissors ; I wonder the doctor has not 
ordered it. It will grow again ; mine has, 
you see." 

"Well, I'll do it," said Tamar, reluctantly 
producing scissors. 

" Let me," said Juliet, holding out her 
hand, " I am more skilful. I will not hurt 
her." 



TRUTH WILL OUT 19 

There was an imperativeness in her man- 
ner that took them by storm. Tamar stared 
at her and yielded ; Miss Gliddon attributed 
her anxiety to pity and a natural wish to 
alleviate suffering. 

Juliet took the scissors with the ready 
cool nerve of a surgeon, and at once clipped 
off what lay round the brilliantly-flushed face, 
passing each long tress to Tamar. But she 
could not reach all, without raising Molly's 
head. Very deftly she put her arm beneath 
it, and had just drawn out another, when she 
was startled to see that Molly's eyes were 
fixed upon her in apparent consciousness, 
and at the same moment she uttered the first 
words they had been able to distinguish. 

" Noll," she said, in a low wavering voice, 
" the rowans are red now, and the rust's 
coming on the ling again. Noll, Noll, when 
will you come again ? " 

At the first word Juliet had stopped, 
paralyzed by the sound of that name on 



2o JULIET. 

which she dwelt so passionately in her own 
mind ; when the wistful voice wavered on, she 
could bear it no longer. The scissors fell 
from her hand as she drew herself up and 
dragged her arm away, turning abruptly and 
pushing Tamar aside unceremoniously. They 
heard her run downstairs, as they looked 
at each other in silent astonishment, Miss 
Gliddon inclined to be inquiring, Tamar 
openly indignant. 

" We must finish the job," she said, taking 
up the scissors, " and none leave the poor 
lass like a bush lopped all of one side. So 
yon's Passon Laybourne's lass. Well, she 
alius war a fierce one, and she's none bet- 
tered. Eh, baarn, what a wankly trick, to 
be sure ! ' 

Juliet ran right through the kitchen with 
her hands before her, as though she were 
either blind or pushing something away from 
her; and she crossed the calf-garth to the 
brawling Alder beck. Among the crowding 



TR UTH U 'ILL OUT. 2 1 



rowans and birk-trees there was a great tor- 
toise-stone, and she jumped over to it, and 
sat down with her hands clasped round her 
knees, and the hard indifference of bitter 
passion that knows itself to be useless, settling 
on her proud, pale face. Already she was 
ashamed of the peurile malice of her deed — 
ashamed and disdainful — yet jostled by a 
flood of conflicting feelings so urgent, so 
assertive, that now one was uppermost, then 
another, and she had not time to grasp 
any. 

What had possessed her to touch Molly's 
hair? If she wanted Ormrod, if she deter- 
mined she would have him, if she really re- 
solved to undertake and compass her own 
humiliation, could it be possible that she 
had thought, as she clutched that bedpost 
and grasped those scissors, that she could 
not win him from this dales-girl, except by 
robbing her of her lovely hair ? She laughed 
aloud — a miserable, hollow T laugh, utterly 



22 JULIET. 

mirthless and spiritless. She knew her power. 
Her pulses quickened and thrilled, the warm 
blood tingled to her very finger-ends, as she 
thought of that look he had given her in the 
drawing-room in Ouin's house — such a look 
as only one woman can win from a man, no 
matter what has happened before or will 
happen after — a look in which love was 
quickened by despair. She asked herself 
now if she would have had him tell her, had 
she had any suspicion of the nature of his 
secret. She wondered what she would have 
done, how she would have acted, what 
amount of fortitude or weakness she would 
have shown, how far she would have belied 
herself, how far betrayed herself. " Had he 
had the audacity to ask me, I should assur- 
edly have kissed him," she thought ; " but 
then I should have loathed myself after, and 
him through myself. As it is, I don't hate 
him, and I may not — there is a kiss still to 
think of, still to think of. And what if I 



TRUTH WILL OUT 23 

never see him again — never ? Can I bear 
it ? Her happiness is in my hands — and yet 
it is not. He will never marry her, nor 
would she be happy with him. Ah ! what 
must I do ? what must I do ? I f I were not 
here with the hills and moors, and this air of 
freedom, I think I should go mad ! " 

She sat on that stone a long time. From 
it she looked straight upon the swart brown 
moors that topped the benty pastures. She 
could hear sounds about the house — the 
sharpening of a scythe on the whetstone ; 
the barking of a dog as a gate clashed and 
the doctor's horse trotted into the yard. 
Miss Gliddon came out to her, and asked 
her to go in and have some tea ; but she 
would not, preferring her solitude and water 
laved out of the beck in her hollowed 
hand. 

" We will just wait to hear what the 
doctor says," Miss Gliddon said, and saun- 
tered away across the calf-garth again, her 



2 4 



JULIET. 



hands clasped behind her, her spectacled 
eyes peering observantly from beneath the 
broad brim of her hat. 

" She is utterly unsuspicious," thought 
Juliet, watching her keenly. 




i 






CHAPTER II. 



TWO LETTERS. 

Juliet, however, was wrong. Miss Glicldon 
was not utterly unsuspicious — quite the re- 
verse. She remembered the change in Juliet's 
manner, the harshness of her voice, when she 
named Ormrod's engagement, and the effect 
of Molly's words upon her ; above all, the 
electrified look on her face when the name 
of Noll was uttered, made her don her 
thinking-cap. 

" Do you know, I feel sure Juliet has 
been seeing a ^ood deal of Ormrod in Lon- 
don ? " she said to Brunskill. 

" She has met him, certainly, for she told 



26 JULIET. 

me so. I suppose the Quins and Mompes- 
sons would be constantly together, and natu- 
rally Miss Laybourne would be interested in 
Moorhead," he replied. 

" It's much to me if he is not interested 
in her," said Miss Gliddon. " Imagine what 
she'll be, dressed in an evening ! She is a 
most fascinating girl, takes you so by sur- 
prise with the varying of her moods— now so 
impetuous, then so winning. And her sing- 
ing — you shall hear her to-night. Do you 
know, I think I .will write to Doctor Thorns, 
and ask him what has been cmincr on p She 
is very reticent on the point — won't enter 
into details." 

" I wouldn't, if I were you," said Bruns- 
kill. " What orood would it do to write to 
him? He mightn't know; and if he did, 
still no good purpose would be served. It 
would be very natural for Ormrod to be 
interested in her. She is a remarkablv fine 
woman." 



TWO LETTERS. 27 



" You look very well together," said Miss 
Gliddon, "both being so tall and dark." 

11 Oh no ; contrasts are best," said Brun- 
skill, with a quiet smile. 

He had come up to stay at the Vicarage 
now, and had met Juliet in the garden as he 
went in. She had not spoken to him ; simply 
held out her hand and given him a long look, 
inexplicably eloquent. He did not know 
how much she now knew ; but it struck him 
somehow that she wished to convey her 
sense of some electric bond of sympathy 
between them, some mutual trouble to be 
grappled with and conquered. 

" I want immensely to go on to the 
Moors," she said at dinner. " But, strange 
to say, I don't want to go alone. Will you 
come with me, Mr. Brunskill, to the rocks 
above Thedra ? That used to be our fa- 
vourite point in the whole Dale." 

This was the first and the only allusion 
she made to Ted ; yet it was evident in many 



28 JULIET. 

little ways that she thought much of him, that 
association held vigorous sway over her, and 
that everything was compared with what had 
been. But they did not know that a far 
greater love had usurped the sisterly, that 
the place she could least bear to pass, was 
the carpenter's shop at the end of the village, 
where Will Ormrod touched his cap to her, 
and Jocky eyed her with open admiration, 
and Mrs. Ormrod dusted a chair with her 
apron and asked her to sit down. 

"Our Noll's in Lunnon now." she said 
once, and was launching out into proud 
details of his handsome looks and cleverness ; 
but Juliet rose abruptly, gathered her cloak 
about her, and departed without a word. 
Their ignorant civilitv stilled her. 

" Don't vou wonder what I have been 
doing?' Juliet said, as she and Brunskill 
climbed the hill behind the Vicarage. She 
had brought an alpenstock with her as of old. 
and when they stopped to look back down 



TWO LETTERS. 



the vallev and recover their breath, she 
planted it firmly, leaning upon it and showing 
off her figure, in its trimly-fitting serge, to full 
advantage. Her hat was off too, her hands 
ungloved, she was enjoying herself uncon- 
ventionally once more. 

" Do you know how much I owe to 
Doctor Thorns ? ' she asked. " He is my 
i best and truest friend ; his only fault is that 
he is rather too clever." 

"You must see a great deal of him," said 
Brunskill. 

" Yes, a very great deal. I lived with 
them nearly two years and read with him. 
Then he sent me abroad, and then they joined 
me, and we travelled together. But on the 
whole, 1 like him best at Coombe Rectory ; he 
has individualized it so thoroughly, personi- 
fied his ruggedestand gentlest ideas in every 
corner. Ah ! it is such a cosy, quiet place. 
It has a big garden round it, full of roses, so 
tall that he can scarcely see over them into 



3 o JULIET. 

the churchyard ; and it's like fairyland to be 
in that garden on a summer evening, when 
the banks are one mass of bloom, tinted like 
an Alpine sunset, and the dew is falling and 
the nightingales singing. Then is the time 
when he talks his best, when he is not 
ashamed to put off his bluntness and eccen- 
tricities like a husk, and to show of what fine 
stuff his soul and heart are made — stuff that 
thrills at one's touch like a beautiful-toned 
Cremona violin. If a woman really is the 
more gentle and subtly formed, then he is 
like a woman for feeling and delicate intui- 
tion. Only he hides it, draws that husk over 
him again with daylight, and is the more 
abrupt and uncompromising the more he 
feels. He is always either a rusty, blunted 
old sword, making awkward, random slashes 
here and there, justly or unjustly, without 
any discrimination, or he is delicate and 
true as a new, bright poniard, / severing 
a hair. You should see the Rectory ; 



TWO LETTERS. 31 



you would enjoy it ; his things look 
cabalistic." 

" That sounds as though you think me 
made for cabals." 

" Perhaps I do,' said Juliet, nodding her 
head. " I shall be very sorry to leave the 
Rectory. It is much more my home than 
Marshlands." 

" But what is going to happen to you that 
you should talk of leaving — Coombe, I sup- 
pose you mean ? " 

" Nothing is happening to me," she said. 
" But a great deal is happening to the Mom- 
pessons. Used you to see much of the 
Quins when they came to the Church 
House ? " 

" As little as possible," Brunskill said. 
" But what is happening to the Mom- 
pessons ? " 

"Well, you know Isabel Quin ? She is 
going to marry her cousin, Henry Mom- 
pesson, in spite of all the risk attending his 



32 JULIET. 

possession of the property. And Mrs. 
Ouin is most ambitious for her. I think 
it would send her wild if they lost the 
property, after all ; and they may any 
day." 

" Oh ! I should think there is no risk 
now," said Brunskill. 

" Risk of what ? " Juliet asked. 

" Of the elder son, or his heir, turning 
up. 

"If he be dead, he may have left more 
than one child." 

" Certainly, that is possible," said Brun- 
skill, quietly. 

He stooped, as he spoke, to gather a sprig 
of white heather, which his quick eye had 
seen on the edge of a peaty pool. Juliet 
stopped too, looking at him with quick, keen 
scrutiny, but his composed, imperturbable fat 
as he silently gave her the rare omen of good 
luck, betrayed nothing. Either there really 
was nothing to betray, or long discipline had 



TWO LETTERS. 33 



given him perfect, unflinching command of 
feature. 

" You seem to know the intricacies of 
the case," she said. 

" I suppose such unfortunate family affairs 
will get about," he said, coolly ; " your father 
has named it to me, and the Gliddons too, 
and I fancy it is known in Moorhead, vaguely, 
You see the Quins used often to be here, 
and I have heard people speculate over 
Isabel's marriage with this identical young 
fellow. They will want Coombe, I sup- 
pose." 

" Oh* yes ; and we shall have to move to 
the Dower-house, about five miles away, out. 
of Doctor Thorns' parish." 

" Ah ! that is a pity," he said. 

It was a perfectly conventional remark, 
uttered conventionally, but he had suddenly 
changed colour, flushed a warm dull red, and 
an eager, wistful look had stolen into his 
eyes. Juliet, however, was not looking at 



VOL. II. 



34 JULIET. 

him, being intent at the moment on her own 
regrets. 

" And is the Dower-house waiting for the 
dowager ? " he asked. 

" No. It has not been occupied by a 
dowager for generations. Some farmers live 
in it, named Gilbert. It was Margaret Gil- 
bert with whom Richard Mompesson ran 
away. The Gilberts won't like to leave, but 
they must, for Mrs. Mompesson w r ishes to 
live on the estate, and it is the only house 
likely for her. Even that, will be a great 
change from Coombe." 

" I should think the Doctor too will miss 
you," said Brunskill. 

11 Oh yes," said Juliet, smiling, " I don't 
know for which of us it will be the 
worst. We are so accustomed to each 
other." 

" But some day you would have to part 
finally." 

" By death?" 



TWO LETTERS. 35 

" No. Perhaps by marriage. Surely you 
will marry." 

He was looking at her, and was asto- 
nished by the change that crossed her face, 
its hardening and coldness. 

" I don't think I shall marry," she said, 
abruptly. 

" Oh surely — " he began, involuntarily. 

" You don't," she said. 

"I — I cannot — a simple conclusive 
reason," he said quietly. 

" I think I have the same." 

" You think ! — you won't think so always, 
not even long ; it is unnatural." 

" Why should it be ? Perhaps you 
imagine it would be to your advantage that I 
should marry," Juliet exclaimed, impulsively. 

" I don't in the least know what you 
mean," he said, looking straight into her eyes, 
" I was not thinking of myself at all, but if 
you don't take care you may make me under- 
stand," he added. 



36 JULIET. 

Juliet shivered ; then laughed, and held 
out her hand. 

" Foreive me ! " she said, " I am not 
quite ruthless. I was trying to trample upon 
myself, not you ; but it got into the wrong 
groove." 

" You are a strange girl," he said, and 
took her proffered hand wistfully, but dropped 
it without saying what he looked as though 
he were going to say; and Juliet, quick to 
see that something had been on his very 
lips, went on with disappointment. She did 
not care for aphorisms, or homilies, or exhor- 
tations, but from Brunskill they would have 
seemed to drop like seed into the furrow. 
She was gradually gaining the conviction 
that he was a man who could exert great 
influence, and that if he exerted it over her, 
it would be to her good. 

44 Isabel is so fond of her cousin," she 
said, presently. " She will make him a good 
wife. If misfortune does overtake them, she 



TWO LETTERS. 37 



is the very woman to tide him well over it. 
He is rather morose ; perhaps from dwelling 
upon the insecurity of his position, and she 
is irresistibly bright. The change in him 
since it was settled is wonderful. He and 
Mrs. Mompesson have not got on well 
lately." 

" Why shouldn't they ? " Brunskill asked. 

" Oh, she is imperious and irritable, con- 
stantly reproaching herself for her course of 
conduct with Richard, and suffering it to 
make others miserable. Richard was her 
favourite child, they say she couldn't bear 
Henry's father, and after Richard's disappear- 
ance and Henry married, she refused to leave 
Coombe, and scarcely suffered a day to pass 
without referring to Richard, and declaring 
he would return to claim his own. Then 
Henry and his wife died within a short time 
of each other, and that sobered her so long 
as the children were young and she had 
power. But when young Henry assumed 



38 JULIET. 

authority, the old tempers broke out still 
more violently, and all the fiercer, because 
even she, had given up all hope of seeing 
Richard again. I think he must have been 
very like her." 

" Have you thought much about it then ? 
1 suppose you have been one of the family 
so long, that their interests are partly yours?" 

" I must interest myself in people," said 
Juliet, " I cannot help doing so, and there was 
such an inconsistency about Richard Mom- 
pesson that he attracted me. He must have 
been so fond of his wife, he gave up so much 
for her, was so chivalrous. I have heard 
a ereat deal about him, and he was so 
loyal and honourable whenever Margaret 
Gilbert was concerned, that one feels he 
must have been a fine man. But then on 
the other hand he was mad to act as he did. 
seemed to have no dignity, or self-control, or 
self-respect. They say he was a most impe- 
rious boy, then headstrong and bulging at 



TWO LETTERS. 39 

Rugby, and went to Oxford to lead a life of 
excess and rollicking dissipation. Unfortu- 
nately, his father was an invalid and could not 
influence him, and when he grew up he and 
his mother used simply to defy one another, 
each strong will wanting to prove itself the 
stronger. The climax came when she told 
him that he had to marry Lady Alicia Orde. 
He flatly refused, and she actually flew at 
him and struck him on the cheek. He com- 
manded himself admirably, but he told her 
then and there that he would marry Mar- 
garet Gilbert, and no other woman. Her 
rage was uncontrollable ; it was what she 
had just cause to fear, but thought high- 
handed measures would nip it in the bud." 

" And what did he do ?' Brunskill asked, 
in a low voice. 

" Behaved splendidly. She insulted Mar- 
garet, called her every vile name of which 
she could think, declared he should not marry 
her, swore she knew he didn't mean to, gave 



4o JULIET. 

him permission to go off with her where he 
liked, promised to maintain them both out of 
her own private fortune until he was tired of 
her, and then to provide for her and receive 
him back, and talked of his then marrying 
one of the Tattons, since Lady Alicia was 
not likely to wait, and there were five Tatton 
girls on the next estate to their own. He 
listened in perfect sarcastic silence, his blood 
at white heat ; then he thanked her, bowed, 
and left the room. She never saw him 
again." 

" And he married Margaret ? " 

" He got a special license, and it was 
done at once, without the knowledge of any 
of his friends. Mrs. Mompesson raved her- 
self into a long illness." 

" And what became of Richard and his 
wife ? Where did they go ? " asked Brun- 
skill. 

" Not a Mompesson or a Gilbert knows 
that to this day. They posted to London, 



TWO LETTERS. 41 



and disappeared as completely as if the earth 
had opened and swallowed them. It is a 
mystery. It was always thought that Richard 
would come to take possession when his 
father died, and turn out Mrs. Mompesson 
and install his wife ; but he did not. He 
was never heard of. It was known that he 
took some seven or eight thousand pounds 
with him, which was a sum of money an 
uncle had left him a few months previously ; 
and every one thought they must have gone 
to America. It happened before there was 
the system of detectives and espionage that 
there is now." 

"It was a mad thing to do," said Brun- 
skill. " One thinks he would have been glad 
to claim his own estate, to surround his wife 
with dignities and luxuries. Do you think 
he was dead before his father, or do you 
think he had ceased to love his wife ? ' 

"Not that," said Juliet. "No; I think 
he would always love her. Perhaps he was 



42 JULIET. 

dead, and she too. Some people thought it 
must be that he would never come back 
while Mrs. Mompesson lived, never insult 
his wife by bringing her in contact with her ; 
that in his implacable hatred, too, which he 
got from his mother, he had conceived this 
way of punishing her. But I should say 
some unlooked-for catastrophe occurred. If 
they sailed for America under feigned names, 
and the ship foundered, it would be impos- 
sible to trace them. I always think there 
must have been some catastrophe, Mr. B run- 
skill ; do you ? " 

" I have never speculated on the matter," 
said Brunskill. " This is the first time I 
have heard the story ; and a miserable one 
it is ! 

It seemed to absorb him. He scarcely 
spoke again throughout their walk, and Juliet, 
too, gave way to her own thoughts. She 
could not determine how to act ; whether to 
write to Ormrod and charge him with the 



TWO LETTERS. 43 

fact of having deliberately deceived her, or 
to allow all to rest in apparent tranquillity 
until she saw him a^ain. She dreaded exer- 
cisino- either alternative : for if she wrote, she 
knew he would write in answer, urging every 
plea of impulse and fascination in self-justifi- 
cation ; and if she waited and saw him, she 
dreaded that his importunity and entreaty 
would overwhelm her. Constant thought 
and hesitation, and the phantom of love that 
seemed relentlessly to pursue her, made her 
restless once more. She had been feverishly 
eager to come to Moorhead, and now she 
was far more feverishly eager to get away. 
She had come for the truth, and she had got 
it ; nothing remained to be done there. She 
wearied of Miss Gliddon, Brunskill's content 
irritated her ; she would not paint, because 
painting was inseparably connected with 
Ormrod ; if she sang, it was with an impa- 
tient agony of vehemence more astonishing 
than pleasing, as she knew, not only because 



44 JULIET. 

it increased the strain on her own nerves, but 
because she felt that it jarred on her hearers ; 
she could not bear to knit ; if she wrote 
letters, she tore them up again ; if she went 
out walking, she was constantly wishing to 
sit down and rest ; and if she sat down, it was 
only to jump up again in a moment. The 
state of things was altogether intolerable. 

One morning, however, she came down 
more composed. She had been writing half 
the night, and she was resolved that these 
two letters should cm. During breakfast her 

o o 

resolution wavered. 

" Come into the garden with me," she 
said to Brunskill as they left the table. 

" See, I have been writing these letters," 
she said, showing their backs to him, when 
they were standing alone on the grass. " If 
you are going into Moorhead this morning, 
will you post them for me ? ' 

" I suppose you mean that you wish me 
to go," he said. 



TWO LETTERS. 45 

" Yes. Will you promise not to look at 
either address ? " 

He bowed. 

" But," she said, " if any accident occur by 
which you inadvertently look at them, if you 
were to drop them or turn them over 
thoughtlessly, you must bring them back and 
I shall not send them." 

" I will be very careful," he said. 

" You need not be," she said, quickly. 
" Perhaps I should be better pleased." 

But when he returned he was empty- 
handed. Juliet was sitting on the edge of 
the sunk fence, waiting, and when he saw 
her he held up two open palms. She shook 
her head. She was disappointed. 

" Ah ! you little know what you have 
done," she said, as he came and sat down by 
her. "And it affects you as much as me; 
quite as much, if not more." 

His face changed. He looked at her 
sternly. 



46 JULIET. 

" What do you mean ? ' he asked. 

She returned that set look with appa- 
rently simple indifference. 

" Not what you think," she said. 

It was an answer that crippled him on all 
sides. If her meaning did not tally with his 
conclusion, it was to be inferred that she had 
fathomed his conclusion though he was in 
ignorance of her meaning. For once he was 
alarmed, perplexed, and exasperated — and 
she knew it. 

" Be cross," she said, " I want a scolding, 
it will do me more good than anything. That 
is why I am going away, because I must 
have Doctor Thorns to scold me again.'' 

" And when are you going ? ' 

" The day after to-morrow, but don't ask 
me whither, for I don't know. ' 

" A case of the dove flying from the 
ark." 

"At any rate, I don't take an olive branch 
with me," she said, smiling bitterly. 



TWO LETTERS. 47 



" Neither did she," he said ; " but she 
found one." 

" I shall not." 

" Oh yes you will, sooner or later. Be- 
lieve that, Juliet ; it is a good thing to 
believe." 

He used the Christian name uncon- 
sciously, and she did not tell him that he 
had used it, but it had a strange effect upon 
her, subduing her utterly, vibrating to a 
depth which she dared not fathom, and send- 
ing a rush of colour over her face, which 
she turned away to hide. He got up imme- 
diately afterwards and sauntered away, and 
Juliet went in and upstairs to her room. 
Taking her desk, she sat down in the win- 
dow-seat and opened it. Within were the 
copies of her two letters ; one was to Doctor 
Thorns, the other to Ormrod. 

" Dear Friend," — she had written to the 
Doctor — " This place is intolerable to me. 
You know why. I feel certain now that your 



4 S JULIET. 

perspicacity will never, under any circum- 
stances, fail you. If I did not know that it 
is your part to sit, sphinx-like, aloof from the 
world and yet solve its riddles, I should be 
afraid of you ; but you do not weave the 
spells so much as you shatter them, so I dare 
think of coming to you and Mrs. Wyvill. 

11 And I want to come to you. I am 
wondering how your rheumatism is. Does 
the top of your stick keep time with the 
melody of the nightingales in the garden, or 
is it too late in the year ? I shall leave here 
in twodavs, either for Marshlands or Coombe 
Rectory, according to your answer. Be care- 
ful not to stand too long at once pruning 
your roses, if the mould be damp. Do trust 
them to Silas, or, if I come, I will do them 
under your directions. I want you to be 
able to throw your stick aside next summer, 
and to look less aggressive altogether. — 
Your faithful " Calypso." 

And to Or m rod she had written thus — 



TWO LETTERS. 49 



" Dear Mr. Ormrod, — I daresay you will 
have heard that your friend, Molly Murdock, 
is very ill. Miss Gliddon and I have been to 
see her, but as yet she is delirious, the crisis of 
the fever not being for another week. Her 
illness cannot be traced to any physical cause ; 
and it is generally thought that there has 
been some misapprehension on her uncle's part 
with regard to your intentions towards her, 
and that he has expressed his opinion of 
you too freely to her, and finally behaved 
brutally. Knowing his character as you 
must have done, forgive me for saying that 
I think you should most carefully have 
guarded against such a misapprehension, by 
explaining your wishes to him as her natural 
guardian. A man cannot be too careful for 
the woman whom he asks to be his wife. 

" I suppose you will soon start for Italy, 

but if, before going, you were to name to Mr. 

Ouin the fact of a friend's serious illness down 

here, and avail yourself of his permission to 
vol. 11. . 4 



5 o JULIET. 

come and see her, you would so far rise 
justly in the opinion of another woman 
whom you have deceived. — Believe me, yours 
truly, "Juliet Laybourne." 

" It will bring him, ,: ' she thought, as she 
reclosed the desk with the decision of in- 
tegrity. " He will be sulky, but he will 
come — not to see her, but because he will 
expect to see me. I should not wonder if, 
in his conceit, he does not distort it into a 
stratagem on my part to get him here. Ah ! 
what an opinion I have of him now ! Let 
him come, he will find me gone ! " 

The following day she packed, and in the 
evening sang to them in so sweet a style that 
Brunskill thought the olive branch must 
already be near her hand. And then came a 
letter from Doctor Thorns. He told her to 
go home. He was coming to her there. 
There was nothing from Ormrod. 

" You will have another visitor to-day," 
she said to Miss Gliddon, as they stood 



TWO LETTERS. 51 

on the platform at Newbridge ; but she 
only laughed when she was asked to ex- 
plain. 

"Good-bye," she said toBrunskill. "Should 
I tantalize you if I were to hold your hand 
and look as though I had a great deal to say, 
and then drop it without having said any- 
thing ? You have tantalized me thus. I have 
a great deal to say to you, but some day I 
shall have more, so I will wait. Think of me 
sometimes, will you ? " 

He assured her that he would, and she 
clasped his hand with expressive emphasis, 
and a smile, half mischievous, half sad. He 
long remembered that smile, puzzling over it, 
and trying to banish the uneasy feeling that it 
had roused in him, a feeling which stamped 
her in his mind as too clever — too clear- 
headed, and quick-witted. Struggle as he 
would, he could not banish the idea that he 
was in her power ; scout at the notion though 
he did, he felt that those parting words were 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF IllfNOfS 



52 JULIET. 

pregnant with more knowledge than it was 
safe for her to have. 

He and Miss Gliddon drove home talk- 
ing of her. Neither knew much, but both 
thought they did, and speculated boldly over 
the future. Miss Gliddon was convinced 
there had been something between Ormrod 
and her, and that she cared for him ; Bruns- 
kill thought, at any rate, she did not mean 
to encourage him, even if the genuine 
attraction did not lie elsewhere, as he was 
inclined to think. 

That evening, the theories of both, re- 
ceived a shock. They were sitting in the 
drawing-room, when the front-door bell rang, 
and in a few moments a familiar voice was 
heard in the hall. Miss Gliddon ran out and 
into the very arms of Ormrod, who was just 
coming in. 

"Good Heavens!' she exclaimed, and 
then simply stared at him. 

They entered the room, and Brunskill 



TWO LETTERS. 53 

rose from the sofa, but Ormrod took no 
notice of him, and looked round eagerly ; 
then turned to Miss Gliddon in unmistak- 
able inquiry. 

" She is gone," said she. 

" Miss Laybourne ? " 

" Yes, this morning." 

Ormrod went on to the rug, nodding to 
Brunskill as he passed him, supported his 
arm on the mantelpiece, and looked at both 
of them deliberately and eloquently. 

" She sent for me," he said, in a tone 
as though he were challenging their utmost 
derogatory criticism of Juliet, and wished to 
infer what they might otherwise leave un- 
thought for charity's sake. 

" Impossible ! " said Miss Gliddon, aghast. 

" Not at all," said Brunskill ; " since she 
evidently did not send for you to see her, it 
seems the most natural thins: in the world." 




(m& 



CHAPTER III. 



a 



IT IS YOU. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN YOU. 



Juliet went contentedly home, as the Doctor 
had said that he was coming at once to see 
her. He was a curious letter-writer, never 
seemed to have a whole sheet of paper by 
him, but wrote on scraps of various colours 
and qualities, as though careful to preserve 
every blank morsel in the letters he received. 
Sometimes, when Juliet opened the envelope, 
ten or twelve of these morsels would flutter 
out, all of unequal size, and closely covered 
with his crabbed characters, unnumbered, but 
happily, never crossed ; this time, however, 
there was only one, and that remarkably tidy, 



"IT IS YOUr 55 



with a new dignity about it — as she thought 
when she re-read it on her journey, wonder- 
ing what gave it that distinction, and why 
she might not go to her old quarters. Per- 
haps Mrs. Wyvill was away, or ill, or he 
was going away, or had other friends. It 
was the first time he had refused to have her, 
and she knew there must be some good 
reason. 

Within a day of her return he came over 
on his mule. She had been in the village, 
and was just sauntering in at the gate, giving 
a long look down the lane, which was the 
shortest cut from Coombe, when he came 
into sight. She threw him a kiss, but did 
not go to meet him ; on the contrary, she 
went on, and up to her own room. All that 
she had to say, rushed over her in overwhelm- 
ing force. Habit held such sway over her, 
that she never thought of withholding any- 
thing. She was not one who could talk 
freely to another woman, and had always, of 



56 JULIET. 

late years said less to her mother than to 
the Doctor. She took flights, which her 
mother could not understand, and as it 
was distressing to feel herself puzzling, she 
would simply keep silence until a conve- 
nient season recurred for the old Platonic 
intercourse. 

And the Doctor never asked for her con- 
fidence. He left her alone until it came 
spontaneously, and then, by apparent blunt 
indifference, drew all forth. When she came 
into the room to-day, they did not shake 
hands. She had a way of walking away 
from the very attraction that was magnetizing 
her, would keep her eyes fixed above its 
level, and apparently curb all thought of it. 
This was deceptive to those who did not 
know her well ; but to the Doctor, who did, 
it happened that day to bring a throb of 
unusual emotion. He was talking to Sophie 
■ — Sophie, the bewitchingly fair and stately, 
who was soon to be married to a departed 



"IT IS YOUr 57 



curate, who had been translated to a Parson- 
age, congratulating her on the happiness to 
which her face testified, and keeping the 
while, a watch on the door. He was sicken- 
ingly anxious to see Juliet ; the glimpse he 
had had of her in the lane was nothing. She 
had walked away with her usual firm ease, 
and he knew she was not the woman to 
droop and slouch unless physical illness had 
her in its grasp. Evidently she was per- 
fectly well in body ; but what of the mind ? 
He must see her face to answer that ques- 
tion. She had gone through a great deal 
since he last saw her, lived a lifetime of 
bruises and hurts, anger and pain ; proved 
her womanliness either for weal or woe, 
ennoblement or bitterness. Was she then 
rising or sinking ? He thought he could 
tell in a moment, and mould his own purpose 
accordingly. 

But to his dismay he found he could not. 
Her face told him nothing of either struggle 



58 JULIET. 

or effect. She did not look at him ; but he 
knew she knew where he was, because she 
looked everywhere else. She went straight 
across the room to the window, in whose 
wide bow was a flower-stand, and she was 
carrying a bowl of asters, which she put 
down, and then stooped to re-arrange some 
shaken blooms. He followed her eagerly 
with his eyes, turning involuntarily from 
Sophie, who signalled her neglected state to 
Carrie with expressive gesture, bringing her 
over to her and the piano against which they 
were standing, 

" He is worse than ever," she said as 
they chose a duet together. "It is cruel of 
Judy, positively cruel. I'll never believe she 
doesn't see. Go to Coombc Rectory, indeed ! 
She never must again but as his wife, and 
she might do far worse. He would be 
devoted." 

" Nonsense ! " said Carrie ; " it is fatherly 
thought, that's all. I named it to INI other, 



"IT is you:' 59 



and she would not hear me. You're not 
wiser than she, I suppose ? " 

" Mother has forgotten, then, how Papa 
looked, and I — you see I remember how 
Arthur looks. He's awfully fond of me, 
Carrie ; but listen — he's not so deeply gone as 
the Doctor, he hasn't it in him. He is going 
to propose to her." 

" Who ? — Arthur ? asked Carrie, mis- 
chievously ; but Sophie did not smile. 

" I call him distressingly devoted," she 
said ; " he would frighten me. What will 
she do with him ? " 

But Carrie shook her head, quite think- 
ing that Juliet understood all there was 
to understand in Doctor Thorns, and that 
that did not tend to love, courtship, or 
marriage. 

Meanwhile, Juliet had arranged the 
flowers, and, standing up, sent a brilliant 
smile across to the Doctor, meaning him to 
come to her. The window was open, and it 



60 JULIET. 

was her plan to go into the garden with him 
at once before the sun set and the dew fell. 
She thought she should be stifled if they 
talked within doors. But to her surprise, 
although he returned that smile with a glance 
of vividest sympathy, he did not come, but 
turned away to the sofa where Mrs. Lay- 
bourne sat at work. Juliet was amazed. 
Under the circumstances, it was the wisest 
thing he could have done ; but he did not do 
it deliberately, he simply could not have gone 
to her, because for the first time in his life he 
would have had nothing to say, and he had 
in reality so much to say that it was a case 
for all or nothing. 

But his failing to see her intention, piqued 
her. She was used to have him at her call, 
and having strung herself up to be confi- 
dential, it was a shock to find him unrespon- 
sive, making her value more his responsive- 
ness, and consider how badly she would now 
do without it. She stood watching him. 



"IT IS YOU: 9 6i 



Mrs. Lay bourne and he were great cronies, 
and entered into animated conversation at 
once. Instinctively, she compared them, and 
was surprised to find how comparatively 
young and hale he looked when he was not 
walking and his rheumatic halt was latent. 
It was a strange thought that came into 
her heart as she stood there. If he had 
been twenty years younger, she would have 
been a happy wife years ago, and thus 
been saved all this trouble that was beat- 
ing in her brain, all this dull pain that was 
twitching at her heart-strings and strain- 
ing them well-nigh to breaking point. It 
seemed to her cruel that he had not come, 
for she would have slipped from beneath 
part of her burden so soon as she had con- 
fessed it. She was very far from guessing 
his real motives in keeping away, and with 
what eager hope his heart was beating. 
She looked round the room, feeling suddenly 
isolated, finishing again by a long glance at 



62 JULIET. 

the Doctor ; but still he made no sign, and 
she went quietly out alone. 

But he heard that slight movement, and 
knew she was gone, and could not bear the 
emptiness that seemed to fall around. In a 
moment he got up and followed her. Sophie 
glanced at Carrie, and nodded, and Carrie 
beean to think she would have to be con- 
vinced in spite of all the wisdom of her 
mother. Mrs. Laybourne knitted on, and 
thought nothing of it ; and the girls looking 
over their shoulders, and seeing her serene 
innocence, decided to keep their own counsel. 

" What will she do s with him ? ' Sophie 
mused again. It sounded as though she 
expected him to be violent. 

So soon as the Doctor stepped into the 
o-arden, he discerned Juliet at the end of a 
long mossy path that led to the orchard. 
She had walked quickly, and was now lean- 
ing on the gate, looking across the level 
landscape beyond the apple-trees, at the sky 



"IT is Your 63 



that was flushing to sunset. She heard the 
Doctor's stick come tapping along, but would 
not turn, and remained motionless. 

He came up and stood alongside of her. 

"Ah! Juliet!" he said. 

The words were nothing, the voice every- 
thing — self-controlled, but inexpressibly ten- 
der — pregnant with satisfaction that they two 
stood there alone. It thrilled her electri- 
cally ; but still for a moment she did not 
turn. Then, very slowly, their eyes met in 
a straight gaze of questioning and intelligent 
response ; but there was this difference — she 
mistook the meaning of his, and he under- 
stood hers. She gathered comfort — he, pain. 
There was no self-consciousness about her, 
and that was what he wanted. He burst 
into a short laugh, and flourished his 
stick. 

" Confound it all ! " he said. 

" The dew will do that for you, at least, 
if we stay here,'' she said, with her usual 



64 JULIET. 

readiness. " It is too late ; we must go into 
the house now ; but we will have a room to 
ourselves, and a good time all the same. 
Why didn't you come at once ? If you had, 
the tooth would have been drawn now ; in- 
stead of which, the whole operation is still 
to be gone through." 

" Operation ! ' he exclaimed. " Why 
didn't you drop your eyes ? — that was all the 
operation necessary for both of us." 

" What have my eyes to do with it ? ' 
she asked, simply. " I meant them to ex- 
press something, certainly, but they could 
only do so open." 

11 Oh ! uncomprehending soul of woman ! ' 
he cried, in a tone of deepest sarcastic hurt. 

"What do you mean?' she demanded, 
standing still. 

" More than your philosophy dreams of," 
he retorted. 

" Don't be so cross," she said, laying a 
coaxing hand on his arm. 



"IT IS YOU." 65 



He shook it off, exulting fiercely over his 
unreasonableness. 

" Never do that again — never 7' he said ; 
and then, conscious of her unbounded aston- 
ishment, he drew to her again. 

" What must I do to please you ? ' he 
asked. 

" You always please me, and sometimes, 
too, you amuse me," she said. " At present 
you are inexplicable ; but then I know you 
are hurt for me, and this is your way of 
showing it. You know how much I have 
been suffering, and perhaps you regret now 
that you let me go to Moorhead without 
warning, for you had guessed the truth, 
I am certain ; and you knew that, of all 
things, it was what I could least endure, that 
the man I loved should have loved some one 
else, and even still be engaged to her when 
he had learned to love me, and was encou- 
raging me to love him. For he does love 
me. I could have him for my own, any day 

VOL. II. C 



66 JULIET. 

or hour, when I chose to send for him. Do 
you believe me ? " 

She paused to take breath, and looked at 
him defiantly. 

" And will you send for him ? " he asked. 

She laughed. 

" I have sent for him," she said. 

She expected he would have clutched her 
arm, stared at her, shook her, called her mad, 
implored and prayed her to reconsider, and be 
saved from a knave. But he did none of 
these ; his own torture was now uppermost. 
He made no sign, uttered no sound, but 
walked on with his eyes bent on the ground. 

It is impossible to describe all that was 
passing through his mind : disappointment for 
himself was gradually quenched in heartfelt 
misgivings for her, in an agony of apprehen- 
sion that she should be rushing into sorrow 
and suffering, in rapid prayers for courage to 
show her safety, and capacity to put self 
aside. Through all that fervent hurried 



"IT IS YOUr 67 



communing, one good old thought beat with 
strong pulsation, " Say to happiness, ' I can 
do without thee,' with self-renunciation life 
begins." Thus must it be unless his happi- 
ness might come through hers, hers through 
his. 

They had reached the house now, and 
Juliet led the way to a room, half school- 
room, half workroom, where they were accus- 
tomed to indulge in long talks. One of the 
twins was there, poring over a volume of 
Japanese legends. She looked up as they 
came in, realizing, with a sigh, that she would 
have to decamp ; and when they were alone, 
Juliet drew an arm-chair into the window for 
the Doctor, and made him sit down, after 
which she knelt down by him. 

" Why didn't you go on catechising me ? " 
she asked, " you stopped just when you 
should not. You ought to have raved at 
me, and I am quite disappointed to have 
created so slight an impression by my grand 



68 JULIET. 

coup. Now I must tell you the sequel in the 
baldest style. I sent for him, yes ; but not 
to see me. No ! I sent for him to see Molly 
Murdock, to whom he is engaged." 

" And you did not see him ? ' 

" No ; I came away. Do you know what 
it means, what I wished it to infer ? ' 

" That you will never see him again ? ' 

She nodded. Her eyes were fixed upon 
him in very desperation of relinquishing 
earnest, and he saw them widen with tears, 
which she was resolute not to let drop. 
Tears they were that, as he knew, were 
wrung from quivering heart-strings, and gave 
no relief to the poignant tension. 

11 You would not have been happy. 
Calypso," he said, gently. 

" He deceived me, and not me so cruelly 
as another," she said, speaking painfully, in 
short strangled gasps, her face now averted, 
" I could have forgiven him my own wrongs, 
that is woman's nature out of her very love. 



" it is you: 1 6 9 



but I should never have forgotten his in- 
difference to the feelings of her who had 
the first claim upon him. It was so un- 
principled, so selfish. I felt at once he was 
not orood." 

Doctor Thorns sat silent, inexpressibly 
thankful, and fearful of adding one pang to 
the many. Juliet was now looking out of 
the window at the golden sky that gleamed 
betwixt the dark level branches of a cedar, 
her hands clasped round her knees, her dark 
eyes luminous with regret, and as he watched 
her he felt strung up to a calm almost 
amounting to indifference. 

Then she turned and looked at him 
again. 

" He loves me," she said, in a low voice, 
and with a smile. 

She wanted him to acquiesce, thinking 
that would bring most balm to her wounds. 
But he did not see it. 

So do others," he said. 



i< 



7 o JULIET. 

She did not answer ; his meaning seemed 
to her strictly general. 

" I do," he said. 

" You ! " she repeated, struck by some- 
thing urgent in his tone. 

" Don't you see it ?" he cried, sharply. 

"In that way ? " she asked. 

" What way, whose ? Do you mean his, 
Juliet? Not that, no, something very diffe- 
rent. It is you. It has always been you. 
It will always be you." 

He bent forward with a fierce light over 
his face, as though he meant his words to 
carry her along with them, but he did not 
raise a finder to touch her. If it were to be 
self-surrender, the act must be spontaneous 
and complete in itself. 

But she had turned upon him an un- 
abashed gaze. 

" My dear friend," she said, softly, and 
placed her hand a moment on his. Then 
she rose. His features were working pain- 



" IT IS YOUr 71 



fully, and she could not bear him to think 
that she saw it. She went and leant against 
the window-frame in silence. 

That silence was broken by him. 
Hurriedly, and in incoherent language, he 
began to tell her how it had all happened, how 
long he had loved her, how he would not 
have spoken now, to the disturbance of her 
peace of mind, but that he feared for her, 
feared that she was about to take a fatal step, 
though she might for a time struggle against 
it. If her resolution proved itself strong, 
not to be influenced by any representation 
Ormrod would make, still she was condemn- 
ing herself to a lonely life. She was no silly 
girl. He could speak to her as to a wise 
woman, whose being is only completed as 
wife and mother; whose reasonableness 
would not disdain the idea of a married life, 
founded upon strong mutual esteem, when 
undying affection also was in the man's heart. 
The woman's affection under such circum- 



72 JULIET. 

stances would crrow out of thankfulness for 
the peace and sheltered safety of a home 
where others looked to her for comfort. He 
begged her to realize, that though now she 
felt equal to weather all storms, a day would 
come when she would long for the nearest of 
earthly companionships ; the dearest of human 
ties. He spoke of his home, but if she did 
not care to think of it as hers, he offered to 
give it up, to travel, to settle elsewhere. He 
offered her his life's devotion, his eternal 
solicitude. His voice gradually steadied. 
His eyes never wandered from their keen 
and eager scrutiny of her. He had leant 
forward, his elbows supported on either arm 
of the chair, his hands'so tightly clasped that 
the finger-ends were left bloodless. He 
was determined to leave nothing unurged, 
unrepresented. Hut she did not once 
turn her face to him [or stir. It was im- 
possible to judge what impression he had 
made. 







"IT IS YOU? 73 



At last she came and sat down by him, 
and he saw her cheeks were wet. 

"You subdue me," she said, " you offer 
me so much. What could I offer you ? 
What could I be to you, and do for you ? ' 

" If you were happy, if I had the power 
of making you so, that would be sufficient." 

" I cannot marry you yet," she said. 

" I don't expect it," he said, " but you 
wouldn't say thus much, would you, if there 
were any obstacle which nothing could dis- 
solve — I mean such as my stick," he added, 
with a nervous laugh. " Could you endure 
a hobbling husband ? Give me a straw of 
hope, and I'll winter in any mawkish climate, 
frequent any devilish kind of bath, go through 
any undignified course of treatment pointing 
to the faintest chance of cure. But chronic 
rheumatism is, I fear, a guest who doesn't 
understand the art of bringing a tedious visit 
to a close, and probably I shall hobble to 
the end of my days. What then ? Am I a 



74 JULIET. 

stupid, vain old fool ? Are you laughing in your 
sleeve, thinking of ' Beauty and the Beast,' 
when it ou^ht to be ' Paris and Helen ? ' 
But, Juliet, you've no notion how softly I can 
hobble, how little it shows. Could vou ^et 
over the stick ? Let us both face the truth." 

She looked at him, half laughing, half 
crying. 

" If I loved you, two crutches would not 
keep me from you when you wanted me," 
she said. 

''You must never come and stay with me 
again, Calypso." 

" That is hard," she said, with a sigh ; " I 
am selfish, I am terrified of losing you as my 
friend. But we can write to each other." 

" Yes," he said, careful not to show the 
substantial hope this solicitude afforded him. 
" That will be very feasible, if I winter in 
some atrocious German hole." 

" Don't go there, for my sake." 

" I am conceited enough to go for my 



"IT IS YOUr 75 

own. I am not an old man, and I may as 
well look under rather than above my age. 
Nothing is more ageing than a limp." 

"You don't look old," said Juliet, quickly. 
Something in her tone made him laugh, 
and as he laughed, she blushed. It was an 
odd and jerky laugh, whose unconcealed 
pleasure made her self-conscious, a feeling 
which under no circumstances she could 
tolerate. She rose quickly, with an involun- 
tary little shrug of her shoulders, and moved 
about the room, clearing the table of the 
twin's lesson books, and picking a few 
withered asters from a bowl of flowers. The 
Doctor sat and watched her, scarcely expect- 
ing that she would sit down again, but reluc- 
tant to be the first to return to the drawing- 
room. After a while, however, she did sit 
down again, and without any preface, began 
to describe her visit to Alderdale to see 
Molly, passing from that to Brunskill. She 
was perfectly certain, in her own mind, of his 



76 JULIET. 

identity, and wished to impress it upon the 
Doctor. But he was hard to convince. 
When the case was placed lucidly before him, 
he snapped his fingers. 

" A fig for your mystery," he cried, (i would 
his mother's son be such an Utopian fool, as 
to put an extinguisher on his prospects, out 
of revenge for insults offered her by his 
father's family ? His best way of avenging 
her, w r ould be to assert himself, and show 
what a fillip of plebeian blood will do for 
patrician. Your woman's wit carries you too 
far. We've all seen him. The Ouins— his 
aunt, Mrs. Ouin, cannot have been so closely 
associated with him in their visits to Moor- 
head, without something transpiring. Ca- 
lypso, your perspicacity does you credit. By 
the bye, you used that word in your note the 
other day. Ah ! that note ! I read between 
each line, and saw more in what was sug- 
gested, than expressed. The nightingales y 
the roses, the dews, and finally, not Silas, but 



"IT IS YOU." 77 



you, standing on the mould, deftly pruning 
under my directions — 



» 



" See, the moon is rising," she said, hastily. 
u Juliet, there is one thing. Supposing//*: 

were to come here to you ? " 

" He will not. He will not dare ! ' 

" There is nothing I would not dare " 

" You ! ' and she flashed a wonderful 

smile at him. " ' Conscience doth make 

cowards of us all.' That is what will keep 

him away." 





<m£-< 



CHAPTER IV. 



OVERCOME. 



" Conscience doth make cowards of us 
all," — the words beat dully in Doctor 
Thorns' mind when Juliet left him, and he 
was alone. 

Somehow, they did not fit into this case ; 
but he was a little time before he found the 
clue. It did not at once strike him that the 
fact was, Ormrod had no conscience. When 
he realized this, he realized also the full 
danger to her from his self-assured conii- 
dence, and that safety lay only in separation 
and distance ; but how to urge this upon her 
without seeming urgent was another puzzle. 



OVERCOME. 79 



She had said she did not mean to see him ; 
but it was impossible that chance, at least, 
should not bring them together, apart from 
the unnaturalness of Ormrod making no 
further effort to see her. She had vanished 
from the room without his catching a glimpse 
of her face, for her voice had been eloquent 
of so much that he had refrained from look- 
ing up. Afterwards silence fell, and the 
moon, slowly rising, flooded the twilight. 
That was all, apparently ; but in his heart 
how much more than mere facts ! 

When he presently joined the others, he 
found some visitors had come in, and he did 
not get another word with Juliet ; but he lit 
her candle at bed-time, and, without glancing 
at her, pressed her hand. 

The following day he went to London, 
promising to call on his way home, and mean- 
while Juliet had a letter from Miss Gliddon. 
She told her of Ormrod's arrival, and also of 
his departure. He had come and gone again 



So JULIET. 

within a quarter of an hour, had not even 
been into Moorhead, but had returned at 
once to Newbridge, walking, to catch the 
first train in the morning. Molly Murdochs 
name had not been mentioned. She did not 
say that Juliet's had, but each line inferred it, 
and that she should be glad to be taken into 
her confidence. 

This, however, was far from Juliet's in- 
tention. She never took a woman into her 
confidence. But, after a great deal of most 
harassing thought during a long solitary 
walk, she wrote back and frankly commented 
upon the madness of Ormrod's action. 

" I don't know what to advise," she said 
in conclusion ; " but I feel that I should 
advise something. Well, then, I will say, 
dorit let Molly know> when she is able to 
be told anything again. She would either 
wonder distressfully or infer much that, 
though comforting, would be untrue. In the 
sight of God he is still engaged to her, and 



OVERCOME. Si 



so far as I know, is not likely to jilt her for 
the surety of being engaged to some one 
else. But I fear a Qreat blow is in store for 
her. He will never marry her ; but I don't 
know whom he will marry. Perhaps it had 
better come upon her gradually. Some day 
she will marry Brunskill, and then she will 
know what true happiness is." 

After this her mind was lighter, but her 
heart heavier. She had acted up to her prin- 
ciples, but she had sacrificed her feelings. 
The facts that he had at once gone to Moor- 
head, that they had perhaps passed each 
other in travel, that he had done all in his 
power to prove that it was her whom he had 
hoped to see, were overwhelming for the 
moment, and made her restless and miser- 
able, distrustful of her own strength, and im- 
patient with the sense of honour imposed 
upon her by Dr. Thorns' trust. The pre- 
vious night everything had seemed lightened, 
she had even felt calm ; but now again the 



vol. ir. 



82 JULIET. 

old surging unrest was upon her, and she 
perpetually caught herself wondering where 
Ormrod was, what he would do, and where 
she would again see him. For she knew 
they must meet again, and perhaps the reso- 
lution that it should be unpremeditatedly 
made it the more natural to speculate over 
and anticipate it, giving food to her imagina- 
tion every hour. 

Then Dr. Thorns returned. They were 
all in the drawing-room when he was an- 
nounced one evening. He came in with a 
decided air of dejection, and stood on the 
hearthrug without shaking hands with any 
one. Juliet was the only one who did not 
look up. She had heard his stick tap along 
past the window, and she knew exactly what 
he was going to say. 

" I'm off to the Black Forest," he an- 
nounced, curtly. 

'' What to do there ? " asked Lavbourne. 

" Good for rheumatics, I suppose," was 



OVERCOME. 83 



the answer. " I'm tired of my hobble, and 
mean to slip it, then cut and run." 

" Your hobble ! : cried Laybourne. 
" Why, man alive, have you one ? If you 
have, I shan't know you without it after all 
these years. What's in the wind ? Come, 
out with the truth ! " 

" What is it, Doctor ? Are you going to 
be married ?' Mrs. Laybourne struck in, 
with a soft laugh. 

Sophie gasped, staring with round eyes 
at the Doctor, who had blushed furiously. 

" Madam," said he, " you little know what 
you are talking about." 

It was an uncomfortable speech, and 
made them all uncomfortable, in which fact 
he would have taken a grim delight, but that 
a quick glance at Juliet warned him that self- 
satisfaction on such a point as the disarming 
of her mother, would place him in her 
black books. So he restrained himself, van- 
quished his ill-humour, and submitted to Lay- 



84 JULIET 

bourne's usual genial button-holing. Tea 
was ordered, and when it was placed on a 
table near the sofa, with the hospitable con- 
cession made to a late and welcome truest 
which avoided a formal adjournment to the 
less cosy dining-room, Juliet arranged all for 
him, and smiled a smile of quiet greeting 
unseen bv the others. 

" I am glad it is the Black Forest," she 
said. "It will be beautiful, and atone for 
your banishment. You will have plenty to 
write about, and I shall look forward to your 
letters." 

He did not answer, but looked at her 
with a tenderness fierce yet wistful, as though 
there were much he wished to say, and when 
he mounted his mule the following morning 
and she started to walk with him a mile or 
two, the secret came out. 

" Calypso," he said, laying a hand on 
her shoulder. " I ran up against Ormrod 
in Pall Mall. He stopped and asked me 



OVERCOME. 85 



where you were. I shall not wonder if he 
come." 

She shook her head. She really believed 
that he would not. 

" I shall not go to Germany yet," he said. 
" The Mompessons seem to be altogether 
unsettled. They talk of the wedding in 
Spring, and Mrs. Mompesson is not well. 
The fact is she doesn't want to leave Coombe 
and go to the Dower-house. I asked Ormrod 
if they were going to Italy, and he could not 
say. Mrs. Quin seems to be under the in- 
fluence of a fit of affection, and doesn't want 
Quin to leave her. Mompesson is off again 
to the Moors, and Bel wants to go too and 
rusticate. That, Mrs. Quin positively declines 
to undertake, so Ouin would be booked. Of 
course Ormrod is the ball whom every one 
tosses, but as Ouin means him to go south, 
and won't send him alone, I fancy it will be 
Bel's fate to yield her wishes and stay quietly 
at Coombe with her mother, and her lover 



86 JULIET. 

when she can get him. That won't be very 
lively work. Mrs. Mompesson begrudges 
the idea of giving up the place to her, and 
won't be chary of her spleen. I don't think 
she will ever go to the Dower-house, it's too 
much saturated with the Gilberts." 

" Would she begrudge giving it up to 
Richard or his son ? " 

" No, poor soul ! If Richard turned up 
I think she would die of joy ; if his son, she 
would begrudge no atonement in her power. 
She feels deeply that at present Providence 
has checkmated her utterly. I have a mind 
to run over to Moorhead and see this fellow." 

" When I return to Coombe I shall go to 
the Dower-house and see Lettice Gilbert. I 
am certain it is her o( whom he reminds 



me." 



" I fancy they'll be curtailing your holi- 
days," said the Doctor. " It's a trick they 
have. If Mrs. Mompesson continues fractious 
Mrs. Ouin'll lose her temper, Sibbert'll wring 



OVERCOME. 87 



her hands, Lily mope, and Bel sit down and 
write off for you. Of course you'll go, and 
the place will relapse into comfort at the 
sacrifice of yours. I shall expect you any 
day, and the sooner you come the better for 
every one." 

11 I wish I were going to-day," she said 
frankly. " I always hate my holidays. Be 
sure I shall come as soon as possible ; and 
when we are all settled for a long dull winter, 
you can go to Germany, if you still wish it." 

" I don't wish it at all," said the Doctor, 
ruefully ; " and if Mrs. Mompesson should 
decide to travel for a year or two after the 
wedding for Lily's sake, I may put off my 
journey until then, and join you." 

" I had no idea they thought of travel- 
ling," said Juliet, quickly, " that would be 
delightful — to see Rome again. Ah ! do you 
remember that day at Tivoli, when there 
was that picnic with the Dalyrymples and I 
was lost ? " 



88 JULIET. 

He remembered very well, and what 
agonies of fear and misgiving he had suffered 
until her voice had been heard calling to 
them in the woods, and they had found her, 
hatless and gloveless, perched in the fork of 
a grand old chestnut. They talked of Rome 
now until they reached a point where three 
roads met. Here they separated, the Doctor 
going forward across a wide level country of 
rich £rass and rows of willows, and dykes 
bordered by poplars, Juliet turning off to the 
right to walk home through a hamlet on the 
outskirts of her father's parish, where he had 
asked her to see a sick man. 

The lane into which she plunged was 
narrow, with high hedges, littered by bryony 
skeins and wild masses of bramble and 
maple. She lost sight of the Doctor at once, 
hearing the slow shamble of his mule a little 
further however, until she reached a crossing 
over the railway, towards which a passenger 
train was coming from the south. She 



OVERCOME. 89 



waited for it to pass the gates. A little 
further on was Dudford Station, for which it 
was already slackening speed. This was the 
station for Marshlands, which was two miles 
from the lines, and it was to a cottage at 
one end of this village that she was bound. 
After the train had passed she went on. 
There was a short cut across some fields, 
which she would have taken but that there 
had been rain in the night, and the grass was 
heavy with autumnal wet. So she kept to 
the lane, and to shorten the longer distance 
walked more quickly than usual, looking 
neither to the right nor the left, and lost in 
her own see-saw of thought. 

Just before Dudford is reached, the foot- 
path in the fields skirts the road, and had 
Juliet looked up, she must have seen a gen- 
tleman coming along these fields from the 
station. He, too, was walking fast, swinging 
a cane with one hand, the other plunged deep 
in his pocket, his eyes bent on the ground, 



9o JULIET. 

and a frown of moody perplexity on his 
handsome, fair face. 

Both preoccupied, they passed within 
four yards of each other without recognition; 
but the next moment some intuition made 
Ormrod stand still and look back, and then 
Juliet heard her name pronounced in a 
peremptory tone of surprise. 

Equally surprised, she stopped abruptly, 
wheeled round and saw Ormrod in the act of 
leaping the hedge to join her. Involuntarily, 
she went slowly back to meet him, and they 
did not turn a^ain, but w T alked on away from 
Dudford into the quiet lane which ran across 
country, remote from any habitation. It 
was the only thing that occurred to them to 
do, and they did it. Ormrod, feeling that 
the lane was unfrequented; Juliet guiltily 
conscious that it was so, and frightened by 
her satisfaction in the fact. 

But they went some distance without 
either speaking to or looking at each other. 



OVERCOME. 9 1 



Not a word had passed beyond the one ejacu- 
lation. They had shaken hands, but it was 
involuntarily and constrainedly. The first 
moments were spent in mutual realization of 
each other's presence, in fronting and then 
curbing the delight to which the expression 
of both faces testified. Then Juliet shook 
herself free from derogatory feeling, and 
wondered what he would say, at the same 
moment as he was wondering what he could 
say, drawing herself up and resolutely gazing 
along the road in front of them. She thought 
she was strong ; but her true wish was to hear 
his voice, her true reflection that by the way 
they were going. Marshlands was four miles 
off. It never occurred to her that this 
meeting, unsought, could also be curtailed. 
As accidental, it seemed to her untreasonable. 
She was thrilled with happiness, and did not 
think of future pain. 

"Miss Laybourne," he said at last, "it 
is a great comfort to me to know that I am 



92 JULIET, 

not now with you under false colours. There 
is nothing now for you to know. You know 
all. I have only to ask your forgiveness. I 
can't be happy without it." 

This was the simplest and frankest speech 
she had ever heard from him, and he de- 
livered it shyly and haltingly. It touched 
her inexpressibly. Tears rushed to her eyes. 
She longed to turn to him simply and frankly, 
her whole woman's soul in her eves, self- 
surrender in her very silence. 

But she thought of Molly, compared with 
whose wrongs hers were nothing ; she could 
scarcely consider herself sinned against, 
barely claim a right to forgive. 

" So far as I have been sinned against, I 
do forgive you," she said. 

" I think you have been most sinned 
against, because you have been most loved," 
he said, after a moment's pause, in the same 
low voice, and with his eyes now fixed upon 
her. 



OVERCOME. 93 



Juliet turned pale. 

''Don't love me any more!' she ex- 
claimed, almost under her breath. 

"That is an impossible command," he 
said. " On the contrary, I must love you 
more every hour I am away from you, and 
can only think of you ; and still more when I 
am with you. Unless you can bear me to 
assure you of this, you cannot have forgiven 
me, and your true forgiveness I must have 
if I am to do or be anything in this world. 
The past few weeks have fully proved that to 
me. You have the making or marring of me 
in your hands." 

"They should be in your own," she 
answered. " For Mr. Quin's sake you must 
mean to study hard, and for your own you 
will surely be principled. It is a case of 
weakness or strength, and surely you will 
not be weak. You have made mistakes, one 
great one, but it should teach you how best 
to avoid another." 



94 JULIET. 

" Nothing will teach me that except your- 
self. I could only work with one end in 
view — that of winning you." 

" A year hence you may be saying the 
same to some other woman, Mr. Ormrod." 

"Never!" he exclaimed, emphatically. 
<k You are thinking of Molly Murdock. That 
was calf-love. It has worn itself out, died a 
natural death, and made way for genuine 
earnest. Had you not gone to Moorhead 
you would have known nothing about it ; 
but Fate took you there ; and perhaps it is 
as well, though there is nothing in the whole 
affair to be considered seriouslv — I mean, 
with deadly seriousness. It was simply a 
thing that was sure to happen, and sure to 
end in smoke. A few months' silence would 
have proved that to her, and there need have 
been no disagreeableness, such as Doctor 
Thorns' officiousness has forced upon us." 

" And was it calf-love with Molly, too ? ' 
Juliet asked. 



OVERCOME, 95 



" Probably not," he said, coolly. 

For a moment she was speechless, and 
her face gathered a look of helpless amaze- 
ment. It was only when she realized how, 
in spite of all, she loved this man, that she 
gained courage to speak. Self-contempt and 
self-humiliation goaded her on. 

" Then you mean that you think she is 
very fond of you ? ' 

" I have every reason to think so." 

" You know, then, that even yet she loves 
you r 

" She is ill now ; but it is highly impro- 
bable that she should have changed. It is, 
however, what all the Moorhead people ex- 
pected me to do ; and I believe some warned 
her, too." 

" And do you think she took the warn- 
ing? 

" Not at the time, perhaps ; but it would 
prepare her ; and her own sense, too, will 
point out the necessity for my marrying 



96 JULIET. 

above her position. I daresay she will soon 
marry in her own. There is a very worthy 
fellow in the dale who would go a good deal 
out of his way to get her." 

"Still, you know, she may not care for 
him, and it may break her heart to havejiim 
for whom she does care, break faith with 
her." 

" She must get over it. Probably she 
will never see me again." 

<4 God pity her ! " cried Juliet, suddenly. 

Ormrod stood still and stared at her. 
Her calm, matter-of-fact tone had misled 
him. He had suffered her to lead him on 
in maundering self-complacency, and had 
even been congratulating himself on the 
quiet ease with which she was tiding him 
over what he had feared mi^ht be an awk- 
ward point ; but her tone now at once robbed 
him of this illusion. 

44 What do you mean ?' he asked. 

" For her weakness," Juliet said. <4 Poor 



OVERCOME. 97 



weak woman, to love such as you ! I only 
know one weaker woman, and that is myself; 
for I know you now, and she does not — not 
yet. There she is, lying ill, and thinking of 
you, trusting you with her heart, her soul, 
her very life's happiness ! What poor stuff 
do you think our woman hearts are made 
of?' she added, controlling her voice into 
scorn, with a violent effort. " You speak of 
Molly Murdock, whose love you deliberately 
set yourself to win, as though her heart were 
made of gutta-percha, and would be none 
the worse for the hardest of blows. You 
seem to have used it to practise upon, and 
now you push it aside as of no further use 
to you. How inconsistent you are ! how con- 
ceited ! This love that you disdain, you once 
thought quite worth winning. Perhaps she 
piqued you by indifference, so you deter- 
mined you would overcome it, compel her to 
care for you, to lose her peace of mind ! 
and she yielded; your, vanity was satisfied, 

VOL II. 7 



9 S JULIET. 

and from that moment you became indiffe- 
rent, and turned your attention to other 
conquests, without a thought of the havoc 
you had worked, the misery, the heart-sick- 
ness to which you had deliberately doomed 
her. You simply throw her aside like an 
old garment. You don't even treat her with 
common human courtesy ; you leave her 
and ignore her very existence, for you don't 
propose to write and explain anything, but 
you inflict upon her the misery of suspense, 
of bewilderment, of helpless struggling 
against the cruellest of torture — alternate 
hope and fear, faith and misgiving. And 
meantime you amuse yourself with another 
woman — with me" she said, turning upon 
him with flashing defiance and a stamp of 
her foot. " You set yourself to win me ; 
you still think, complacently, now and again, 
that Molly loves you ; you determine I shall 
love you ; and, doubtless, in solitary mo- 
ments, when you are indulging in flights of 



OVERCOME. 99 



fancy, you reflect that it will be easy to make 
other women succumb at future times, and 
that you must be careful to keep your hand 
in, when I am not by to see you at work. 
The whole scheme is fine. You will find 
that I, at least, appreciate your genius — 
perhaps, because I have some of my 
own." 

" You are all genius ! ' Ormrod said, 
clutching at the only straw that seemed to 
him likely to stem the torrent, " you see 
everything and can turn it to account. You 
bewilder me, but it is only because you place 
things in so different a light to what they 
occur to me. If you would let me explain, 
if you would believe me, I am sure you 
would find that my genius is not above 
yours." 

"Believe you!' echoed Juliet. "How 
am I to believe you ? How can I ? It's against 
all reason. It would be sheer madness when 
once you have deceived me, to believe that 



ioo JULIET. 

you would not deceive me again. Besides 
which, I have no business to be thinking 
of myself at all. You are engaged to 
your cousin. You have no right to speak- 
to me of love. I have no right to listen." 

" Yes, you have," he said, " you have the 
first right; for I tell you again, Juliet, it is 
you whom I love. I can't help it. I must 
love you. I know myself, Juliet, I love 
you. 

He stopped and seized her hand, but she 
wrenched it free. 

11 You insult me by saying so," she said, 
walking on rapidly. 

" What else can I say, it is the truth ? I 
came to say it. I could not have endured 
my life without saying it. I have been 
utterly miserable since that night. I didn't 
know what to do. You would not hear 
what I had to say, it wouldn't bear writing. 
I could not in any way avert the blow from 
you, I had no means of knowing how you 



OVERCOME. ioi 



took it ; my life seemed to have sunk into 
silence, and it was the more, intolerable, 
because I knew yours would be in a whirl. 
I scarcely slept for wondering what you were 
thinking of me, and what punishment you 
would inflict upon me. Then your letter 
came. J uliet, do you know I went the very 
next day ? I thought you would be there, 
and might want to see me, perhaps glad to 
see me ? " 

" You were absurd, quite absurd ! I 
wondered, when I sent it, if you would be so 
ridiculous as to think so." 

" You did ! You did it deliberately? I 
didn't deserve that/' 

" You deserved anything — ■ worse than 
ridicule. But don't think for a moment that 
that was my object in writing. I wrote to 
show you how full my knowledge was, to 
endeavour to keep you to your honour, and 
to infer that my respect was gone, and with 
that, all possibility of " 



102 JULIET. 

" Stop," he said, " don't say it! don't 
belie yourself, Juliet. Be reasonable. You 
must know I shall never marry Molly. She'll 
get over it, and take a finer fellow perhaps 
than I — one in her own position, who'll make 
her happier than she could be in London, 
even with me. Still, I shall wish to marry, 
and I shall wish to marry you — make it my 
aim to win you. Let me suppose that you 
would have married me without hesitation 
and for pure affection, but for this affair ; 
well, do you mean to say that you would 
stifle all feeling, and deliberately refuse 
me?" 

" I have not so much feeling to stifle as I 
had a month ago." 

" Juliet, do you mean to say that you 
were not glad to see me to-day ? ' he asked y 
bending forward and watching her keenly. 

"You took me by surprise," she said, 
suddenly faltering. 

" There is nothing like it at times," he 



OVERCOME. 103 



rejoined, with a deep breath of relief ; " you 
too took me. Be true to yourself. You 
know you love me, perhaps all the more 
because I have caused you suffering ; who 
can tell ? We love each other, we have 
been made for each other, let us recognize 
the fact." 

" But you are not free," she said, alter- 
nately tortured and comforted. 

" I shall be, so soon as it is possible. I 
will write to her when she is out of danger 
of physical harm from it. And then — will 
you promise yourself to me for that day of 
freedom, Juliet ? Will you be content to 
wait for me ? " 

He was close to her and endeavouring" to 
see her face, which she held averted. He 
could only see her varying colour, her down- 
cast eyes, and he longed for more. 

" Look at me," he said, in a low tone. 

There was a moment's exquisite hesita- 
tion ; then she turned, raising a face radiant 



io4 JULIET. 

with the light of love shining in her shy and 
happy eyes. But even this did not thrill 
him so much as her visible shrinking, which 
he felt to be newest and most wonderful, 
most eloquent of self-surrender. He drew 
near to her and took her hand. 

"Juliet," he said, " tell me that you love 
me. 

" I wish I could hate you," she said, 
slowly. 

He laughed. 

" Have you been trying to hate me ? ' he 
asked ; " if I had known it had come to that, 
I should not have been so miserably anxious. 
I don't think you would ever have succeeded. 
Juliet, Juliet, you have made me most wonder- 
fully happy, there is such a load gone from 
my heart. I was coming in such fear and 
trembling. I didn't know if you would see 
me, what horrible torture you might inflict 
on both of us ! And I should have had my- 
self to blame entirely unless you would 



OVERCOME. 105 



have believed the simple truth, that from 
the moment when I saw you coming to 
me in that glistening gown with the purple 
pansies, my head and heart were full of you 
— all you, nothing but you ; and I suffered 
myself to be carried away and to live in a 
dream until that miserable night when you 
were forced into a course of action that you 
loathed, and I saw your eyes change to cold, 
questioning mistrust, and knew you were 
steeling yourself against me— and all for a 
mere flea-bite, a straw neither here nor there 
in a man's life. I felt desperate, to think 
such an unobtrusive morsel as poor Molly 
should stand between you and me, to think 
I had been such a fool as to imagine for a 
moment that she could make me happy, and 

actually shackle myself with such a 

what is it, my darling, are we walking too 
slowly, are you cold ? ' 

For he had felt her shiver strongly, and 
now she turned a white face to him. 



io6 JULIET. 

"Don't!" she. said. "Don't talk so, 
Noll." 

" How ? What am I saying you don't 
like ? It's all true. However, if you don't 
care to hear it, if you'll be content without it 
all, we will let it be, of course — only most 
women — " 

" Is your experience large ? Used you to 
tell her, Molly, that you cared for her — loved 
her ? Used you to assure her of it ? ' 

" Of course, I did ; don't be jealous, Juliet 
■ — more fool I." 

" I don't know how to be jealous, I 
think," she said quietly. " I don't imagine 
it's jealousy that I feel. I couldn't struggle ; 
but my heart would sink. I only know how 
to be unhappy." 

" U nhappy ! But not to-day, my darling, 
surely not now when we are together, you 
and I, caring only for each other in all this 
wide world. Why do you talk of unhap- 
piness ? I am happy, why are not you ? 



OVERCOME. 107 



Are you thinking we shall have to part 
soon ? " 

He looked fondly down at her as he 
spoke, the ardent lover in his every gesture, 
and she, glancing up and meeting the elo- 
quent tenderness of his eyes, thought she 
ought to be happy, and wondered, with a 
sigh that clothed her silence, why she was 
not. 

But his last words roused her. She 
began to consider how best to provide for 
that parting which might herald a long 
separation. 

They w T ere walking towards Marshlands. 
Was he meaning to go to the Rectory ? Did 
she mean him to go, and, if so, as what ? 
— with what coined explanation in introduc- 
tion ? The truth was inadmissible. Virtu- 
ally, he was now engaged to two women ; 
it seemed to her that the second engagement 
could not silently cancel the first, though she 
was tacitly acknowledging that the second 



108 JULiEl. 

could exist in spite of the first. She thought 
of Dr. Thorns on his homeward way, trusting 
her as he would wish to be trusted by her, 
hoping the best for her, praying that she 
should not fall into temptation, or if she did, 
that her strength might be equal to it. The 
reflection pierced her with remorse. She 
had fallen. She knew that she had sacrificed 
her self-respect, that, compared with the feel- 
ings roused in her by Doctor Thorns' con- 
fession, her present ones were vicious. Virtue 
had gone out of her. She had yielded to 
mere passion built on sand. 

It was clear that Ormrod must not to to 
Marshlands. It must never be known by 
her family that he had been to Dudford, that 
her time had been spent in loitering along 
a bye-lane with a man engaged before the 
world to another woman, that she had 
plighted troth with him, and meant one day 
to marry him. None of this must be known. 
Absolute secresy must be brought to bear 



OVERCOME. 109 



upon the matter. She, who did not trust him 
— who knew, to her torture, that she never 
could trust him — was doomed to maintain an 
appearance of perfect trust, to let him go 
from her in uncertainty when they should 
meet again, in ignorance of everything that 
would transpire on his part, during the sepa- 
ration. She could assert no claim upon him. 
Molly Murdock, lying in an extremity of 
weakness, with slow, hazy thought gathering 
again painfully around earthly objects, was 
his affianced wife ; on her finger a little tur- 
quoise ring ; in her drawers a bundle of let- 
ters ; trivial yet significant gifts here and 
there among her other possessions, large 
acknowledgments of claim and right in the 
minds of every one about her — except two, 
who would assuredly keep their own counsel. 
She thought of her letter to Miss Gliddon, 
penned in all honesty ; of her assurance to 
Doctor Thorns that he would not come, that 
she should not see him, that she had done 



no JULIET. 

with him. She thought of all these things, 
and was bewildered by the insidious madness 
that seemed to have robbed her of sense, 
free agency, cool judgment. 

They were now within a mile of Marsh- 
lands, and she stopped. 

" I think we had best say good-bye here," 
she said. 

He was astonished. 

" I should like to go on, to see your 
friends — your father. It is what I meant to 
do if you were kind," he urged. " I made 
arrangements for remaining a night away. 
Surely, you'll let me spend the evening with 
you, Juliet. Aren't you going to acknow- 
ledge me ? " 

" No ; I will never acknowledge to only 
half of you," she said. " If I can be satis- 
fied, you must. No one shall know that you 
have been here." 

" But it all comes to the. same thing ; in a 
few weeks there will be the whole of me for 



OVERCOME. in 



you, as there is now, if only you would see 
it. But then I shall probably be in Italy, 
and I may be bidden to settle there for 
some months, and the uncertainty will be 
miserable. It amounts virtually to your 
acknowledging nothing between us. It 
is not reasonable. I can't be satisfied 
—I " 

" Will you please think of me, and not 
of yourself ? ' she said, stung to a point of 
miserable misgiving which compelled the 
words. 

"Of you?' he repeated. "I do, don't 
I ? Of course, it is you." 

She smiled bitterly. 

"We will suppose, then, that it is. Well, 
cannot you trust me ? ' 

" I can trust you fully, but " 

" Perhaps you cannot trust yourself? ' 

"Oh, Juliet! what is possessing you? 
You are very hard upon me." 

" I would to God that I could trust you ! ' 



ii2 JULIET. 

she exclaimed, regarding him with pained, 
and helpless bewilderment. 

" Of course, you must trust me," he 
said. " We must, at least, write to each 
other " 

But he found her unmanageable. She 
shook her head, and signed to him to stop. 

" I should hate a letter from you," she 
said. " You would not tell me all. You 
might be amusing yourself, flirting, and none 
of it would reach me ; you would say so 
much, sufficient to represent yourself in the 
best light, and beyond that, all would be 
dark and silent as the grave. No! if you 
are going to be true to me, be true without 
such traps for deceit, as letters." 

"Juliet, either you don't love me, or you 
are jealous," he exclaimed. 

" I do love you, and I am not jealous." 
she said ; " but vou don't understand how it 
is, and I cannot make you, yet." 

" And you really mean that I have to 



OVERCOME. 113 



leave you here, just go back to Dudford alone, 
and return to London ? " 

" Yes, and if either of us has anything 
to be thankful for, in having met, I will tell 
you that chance alone has brought it to pass. 
Had you come to the Rectory, I should have 
refused to see you ; you would have had to 
go away again." 

" Why do you speak so hardly ? " he said. 
" I will not leave you thus. You must be 
kinder, truer to yourself. I may not see you 
for months, Juliet. You are mine at heart, 
why not openly too ? Don't let us stand 
here looking at each other in this way. If I 
must go, won't you come back with me a 
little way along the lane ? You must give 
me something more than you have already 
done. My own darling, you don't know 
what a man must have from the woman who 
will be his wife some day. Doesn't your 
heart tell you, Juliet ? Is there nothing you 
would like." 

VOL. II. 8 



ii 4 JULIET. 

They had turned into the lane again, 
Against her will, he had drawn her, and now 
he took her two hands, and looked down into 
her eyes with a fervour that seemed to pierce 
her down-dropped lids. He felt her tremble. 

" Must I go now ? " he asked. 

"Yes," she said, faintly, scarcely breath- 
ing. 

The next moment she was in his arms, 
he was kissing her passionately. She sub- 
mitted without a struggle, but when he re- 
leased her she was deathly pale, and in trying 
to walk away, reeled, and almost fell. He 
rushed back to her, but she waved him aside, 
looking at him with haunting eyes of agonized 
entreaty and reproach, her heart full of 
thoughts, whose bitter foreboding he could 
not penetrate ; of hopes and fears, whose slow 
torture it was impossible that he should know. 




CHAPTER V. 



THE GILBERTS. 



No point in the county was more of a 
favourite for a meet of fox-hounds, than the 
Dower-house, and at the Dower-house the 
first meet in the new year was always held. 
It was a fine old place, built of red brick, but 
half buried with creepers, with two wings 
running back into a courtyard, and a frontage 
of uneven gables, florid with twisted finials, 
and fantastic woodwork. The drive up to 
it wound through park-like ground between 
an avenue of walnuts, until the sunk-fence, 
bounding the garden, was reached. In 
former times, when Dowagers had invariably 



116 JULIET. 

come here on the marriage of their eldest sons, 
or those sons, with their wives, had inhabited 
it so long as the old Squires lived, this half- 
circle of garden ground had been laid out with 
prim lozenge-shaped beds, and dipt ever- 
greens ; but now there was a waste of rank 
grass, a weedy walk, and stonecrop-choked 
steps. To the left, were orchards, sheltered 
by beech-hedges, with a few russet leaves left 
rattling in the crisp air. To the right, the 
pastures sloped down to a stream with an 
oak-spinney beyond. All this had been too 
quiet for Dowagers of late years, who had 
preferred Bath or Homburg ; the Squires 
had died in the prime of life, leaving an early 
succession to their sons, and the Gilberts had 
held the place as a farm for four generations. 
On this bright day, in the first week of 
the year, the avenue was alive with scarlet 
coats, carriages were drawn up on the higher 
edge of the pastures, the hounds were trot- 
ting up across the open ; there was a thud of 



THE GILBERTS. 117 

horse-hoofs on the snow-sprinkled turf, a 
cracking of whips, a ring of cordial voices 
exchanging New Year greetings. Isabel, in a 
rakish little Norwegian carriole, had just 
brought her tandem into line, and was talk- 
ing to the Master, for Mompesson, who had 
ridden up by her, had gone to the house for 
a draught of ale. The ponderous, iron- 
clamped front-door stood wide open, and the 
hall was thronged. A desolate, time-worn 
place it was, even with a roaring fire, and the 
sun shining broadly through the leaded panes. 
Here and there, oak chests were made to 
serve as tables for the spirits and wine, and 
foaming tankards of ale ; on the walls were 
trophies of stags' heads, and fox-brushes, 
apparently mangy with age, and above the 
mantelpiece, with its crumbling caryatidse, 
was a faded genealogical tree of the Mom- 
pesson family. Two women were busy 
among the huntsmen with clean glasses and 
corkscrews, the one, a -rheumatic old crone, 



n8 JULIET. 

the other, a dark-haired, large-eyed slip of a 
girl, who, but for Mompesson's presence, 
would have got many a toast and joke. 
With Mompesson there, however, the lightest, 
felt familiarity inadmissible, for this brunette 
was Lettice Gilbert, who was — as the county 
whispered — the living ima^e of her aunt 
Margaret, with whom Richard Momoesson 
had run away, and thus connected by that 
marriage with Mompesson himself. 

When the hall began to clear, he filled 
a liqueur glass and took it out to Isabel. She 
was sitting with the reins drooping in one 
hand, and the other arm thrown over the 
back of the carriole, as dainty a picture in 
her furs and velvet as any man could wish 
to see. 

" Bel/' said he, as she took the glass, 
" there's a Gilbert looking after the corks and 
dregs who's the prettiest brunette I ever set 
eyes on. Truly they keep up their character 
for good looks. I should just like you to see 



THE GILBERTS. 119 

her. The men have all been agog, but she's 
behaved herself very decently, like a tanta- 
lizing little prude." 

" Poor Lettice," said Bel, " of course she 
would behave decently ; but it seems to me 
some of you men haven't, if you've been 
trying to stare her out of countenance. I 
hope you gave Mrs. Gilbert a civil word in 
passing." 

" It depends on what you mean by civi- 
lity ; sometimes the civilest thing a fellow can 
do is to be silent. I didn't put myself out of 
the way, of course, but I nodded to her. She 
looked sulky, and I wished her out of the 
place, and I daresay she knew it. What are 
you going to do — follow ? We're off to the 
Black Planting, a sure find, you know." 

" I daresay I shall follow so far," she said. 
" I hope you'll have a good run and get all 
the envy, hatred, and malice galloped out of 
you. Yes, you may look disgusted, truth is 
often unpalatable, sir." 



i2o JULIET. 

In a few moments the whole Field had 
moved off, panels flashing, red-coats blazing, 
in and out among the old walnuts. Then 
the gates were closed, the front door swung 
to with a bane that startled the echoes, and 
the old place fell asleep again, its windows 
blinking in the sun, its weather-cocks lazily 
veering, one thin wreath of smoke curling 
skywards from one of its many stacks of 
chimneys, and not a soul to be seen. 

But this did not last long. Half an hour 
passed, during which a short yelping from 
the hounds about the Black Planting a quar- 
ter of a mile away had changed into one 
hollow bay, and been succeeded by a busi- 
ness-like silence ; then there came a trotting 
of ponies' feet along the road again, and 
Isabel pulled up her tandem before the door, 
eot down, and went in. The hall was deserted, 
but she knew her way to the inhabited rooms, 
and going down a flagged passage entered 
the kitchen. Lettice Gilbert was sitting on 



THE GILBERTS. 121 

a table in the window, swinging her feet in 
rhythm with the ballad she was singing as 
she peeled potatoes, and Mrs. Gilbert had just 
come in from the yard with an apronful of 
chips, with which to coax the fire into a blaze. 

"How do you do, Mrs. Gilbert?' said 
Isabel, holding out her hand. 

The old woman stared at her, reluctantly 
extending her withered brown palm. 

11 You're none Henry's lass, surely," shesaid. 

" No, not Lily. I'm Miss Caroline's lass. 
Miss Caroline, you know, who married to 
London." 

" Oh ay, the painter chap. I reckon 
that was another come-down to old Madam's 
pride. Well, you're a bonny one grown, to 
be sure, and it's a canny while since you were 
here. Turn to the window, honey, and 
let's have a good look at you. Ay, 
you favour your mother in your fair skin ; 
the Mompesson stock always was fair to 
see. I remember her as well as the 



122 JULIET. 

others, Squire Richard and Henry. The 
Squire was a favourite with all the country- 
side, for all he never came to be Squire, more 
shame ! and for all his rollicky ways. Ay, 
he was a gay young chap, always free with a 
joke, but as gentle as a woman with Marget, 
my handsome lass, Marget. Lettice there's, 
growing wonderful-like her aunt, only her 
father's a mortal fear of her knowing it. I 
tell him he's a fool, her looking-glass'll tell 
her true, and it's best faced unless she 
doesn't care a pin for her good looks, save 
to win her one man. That's what Marget 
did. It was all ' Mr. Dick,' he'd taught her 
to call him so, then she came out sudden 
and shy with k Dick,' and then she ran off with 
him. Eh ! what a day, what a day when no 
Marget came home! And Madam swore 
there'd been no marriage, swore at the man 
who'd married them for telling her truth, 
swore at every one about her as never woman 
did before or since surely.'' 



THE GILBERTS. 123 



" But she believed the truth," said Isabel. 
"She knew it was truth. It was suffering 
that cost her her self-control She had her- 
self to reproach, you hadn't. She often, often 
thinks of it all, and wishes the wickedness 
of it undone. She has never been happy 



since." 



< i 



Who has, I should like to know ?" said 
Mrs. Gilbert, fiercely. " Day and night have 
been soured for me. She was my only lass, 
and the bonniest and best ever woman had ; 
and she left me, and I've never had one 
word since, and I don't know whether she's 
alive or dead. I fretted till fret was worn 
out of me, and then I hardened, and I harden 
yet. But I guess I shall hear something 
before my time comes, if there's a just God 
in heaven. It's that that keeps me alive. 
It grows on me," she added, lowering her 
voice. 

Isabel was silent. She, too, had the same 
presentiment, and her heart sank a little 



i2 4 JULIET. 

before she could rally her courage to face 
this pregnant fact of sympathetic feeling. 

" I came to tell you some news," she 
said, presently, with a bright blush ; " my 
cousin and I are to be married in spring, 
Mrs. Gilbert.'' 

" I'd heard that, and I thought it was 
a fair piece of news, honey. The young 
Squire's none so free as Richard was, but 
he'il make a good wife a good husband ; and 
it's right you and he should come together, 
and have Coombe, if it's rightfully his. If 
it isn't, you'll maybe each tide the trouble 
over for the other. I guess he's uncom- 
monly sweet on you ; and it's been kind in 
you to come and tell me ; for all my own 
lass should have been where you'll be, I'll 
give you hearty wishes. You've always 
been the only one in the family that's none 
ashamed to own to the truth. My son was 
telling me we might have to turn out any 
dav to give place to Madam. It's in the 



THE GILBERTS. 125 

agreement, so we can't grumble at what 
we've always had to expect." 

" I don't think you will have to go," said 
Isabel ; " I think Gran'll go away. I believe 
she could not endure to live here, and a 
warmer climate would suit her better. Let- 
tice," she added, turning to the table, " I 
should very much like to go round the old 
place. Will you come with me ? " 

Lettice was prepared for this request, for 
Isabel never went away without it. The 
Dower-house fascinated her. She might love 
Coombe — a more stately place, with lavish 
luxuries and the associations of happy days 
of childhood and girlhood in its rooms and 
galleries, its sheltered, Watteau-like gardens 
and wood-encircled bowling-green and roll- 
ing park ; but she was restless there — un- 
settled. At the Dower-house she could 
dream a happy woman's dream of home, and 
people it with daily episodes of domestic life, 
hear her husband's voice calling her, or the 



i 2 6 JULIET. 

prattle of their children, and eager patter of 
little feet running - to assail the doors. Some- 
how it seemed to belong more to her and 
Mompesson. The fact was always before 
her that he held Coombe because there was 
no one else to hold it, and that any moment 
might rob him of it. But she regarded this 
less ambitious old place with a securer feel- 
ing of proprietorship. She had cultivated a 
love of it, so that her honest love might 
infect Mompesson, if the great blow should 
fall ; had embued it with a quaint, poetic 
aroma, furbished it up, and planned altera- 
tions, and persuaded herself that she could 
be very happy there. She almost wished 
they were marrying to the certainty of it as 
their home. When she stood in the big 
drawing-room, and contrasted its long, low, 
mullioned windows, its cracked whitewash, 
and the harvest of apples that turned the 
floor into a mere store-house, with the modern 
warmth of colour and cushioned velvetiness 



THE GILBERTS. 127 

of Coombe, she could not but shiver at the 
idea that one day they might only be allowed 
to remain there on sufferance while these 
walls were papered and ventilated, the 
chipped carving restored, the bevelled mir- 
rors, deep sunk in the panelling, reset in 
less tarnished frames. To Lettice Gilbert's 
practical, housewifely mind the whole place 
was a store-house. She walked on in front, 
unlocking doors, throwing open shutters, and 
dilating on the bacon and seeds and samples 
and grains that filled some rooms ; the po- 
tatoes and onions and old geranium plants 
that littered others. The mingling of smells 
was intolerable, their steps and voices echoed 
in the corridors ; apparently there w T as no- 
thing to redeem it from hopeless, almost 
ugly, desolation but the spaciousness and the 
stray bits of aristocratic antiquity — a prism 
dancing here and there from the emblazoned 
arms that ennobled a window ; a tapestried 
panel billowing in the draught ; an oaken 



128 JULIET. 

dado, with mouldings carved in dog-tooth. 
But Isabel traded on all these redeeming 
points. Much money would be needed to 
form a whole in character with them ; but 
that they could command, and it would be a 
task after Quin's heart to fit it up as it 
deserved to be fitted up. 

" I think some day soon I will come 
again, Lettice, and bring Mr. Mompesson 
with me. He has never seen over it, and it 
is time he did," she said, turning away from 
a thoughtful survey of the chapel, a huge 
raftered chamber at the top of the house, with 
an oriel, from whence the whole country as 
far as Coombe was visible. 

" Is there going to be a change for us, 
then ?' Lettice asked. " I don't know which 
Grandmother '11 like least, to have the young 
Squire come looking about, or to leave it 
altogether. He's not so civil to her as he 
might be. It isn't the fault of either her or 
me that Aunt Margaret ran away with a 



THE GILBERTS. 129 



Mompesson, but he treats us as though we'd 

done it, and I am sure Grandmother's near 

daft sometimes yet with fretting. She'll 

walk in the orchard and spy round the trees, 

as if she thought to find them sweethearting 

again. It was in the orchard they used to 

meet, and there's a big bough yet, low down 

towards the grass, where he used to swing 

her. Here, Miss Bel, you can see it from 

this window/' she added, entering a little 

room, whose dormer peeped from between 

two gables. Isabel knew the room perfectly. 

It had been Margaret's. She followed Let- 

tice with a hushed footstep. It seemed to 

partake of the mystery surrounding its former 

occupant, to be shrouded and sacred. The 

winter sun missed it, and the air was frosty 

and chill. Lettice unhasped the lattice, and 

she looked out, down upon the orchard, 

peopling it with the two lovers who had 

braved so much, and then vanished utterly 

from their old horizon. 

VOL. 11. 9 



130 JULIET. 

" I was not thinking of a change for you," 
Bel said, moving away again gently ; " at 
present there is little prospect of this house 
being wanted, but Mr. Mompesson has no 
idea what it is, and I wish him to have. He 
considers it resentfully, just as you consider 
him. You should not have spoken so, Let- 
tice. You do not know the suffering that 
lies hidden in the simplest things, or how 
some meet it bluntly, and others quietly. If 
Mr. Mompesson comes here with me, you 
will judge him differently." 

" Then it will be because he is with you," 
Lettice said, looking at her with a smile, half- 
defiant, half-admiring. 

When Isabel got home she found Juliet 
in the hall. Juliet was not taking any Christ- 
mas holidays ; they had been offered her and 
declined, to the satisfaction of every one. 
She was fond of sitting in the hall, and had 
a table in a corner near the fireplace, where 
she wrote or painted, without troubling to 



THE GILBERTS. 131 



move anything from day to day. As Isabel 
entered now, coming in bright and sparkling 
from the rapid motion in the frosty air, and 
emerged from the velvet curtain draping 
the door, she was wishing that she might 
find Juliet quietly ensconced as usual ; and 
her wish was gratified. Juliet was standing 
up, winding wool from a chair, a graceful 
action that suited her well. She turned as 
Isabel came up, looking at her expectantly, 
but with a reflective gravity very much in 
harmony with her large and commanding 
beauty. Isabel was greatly struck with her 
aspect, thinking rapidly that she was beau- 
tiful, but that she had not been so long, that 
indeed this wonderful softness which seemed 
to pervade her, and whose fascination lay in 
its controlled melancholy, had only showed 
itself within the last few months, and was 
unhappily easily to be accounted for. 

"Ah, Juliet," she said, sitting down on a 
divan, and throwing her~ hat off, " do you 



I3 2 JULIET. 

ever intend to look happy again ? Do you 
think Italy will make you happy when you 
go in the spring, or are you cultivating this 
Penseroso air because it suits you ? It does 
suit you. dear." 

Juliet's hands moved more quickly, but 
otherwise she remained calm. Isabel, watch- 
ing her with keenly wistful eyes, thought 
that she was always calm now, but it was a 
calm that seemed to feed upon itself and 
resolve into secret torture. She never named 
Ormrod, but Isabel was not too much self- 
absorbed to note the hungry eagerness with 
which she heard him named, and took care 
that she should hear all there was to hear. 

11 I am very very fond of Italy," Juliet 
•said, " but I am not likely to be happier 
there than here. I am very happy here." 

" Papa heard yesterday from Mr. Ormrod, 
he seems to lead a sandwich sort of life, 
work between thick slices of amusement ; his 
letters are amusing, very frank, you know, 



THE GILBERTS. 133 



giving one the impression that he tells every- 
thing, and at the same time he passes by a 
good deal. He is seeing a good deal of the 
Dalyrymples in Rome ; as usual, they are 
wintering there, and they are certainly nice 
people." 

44 Very nice ; he is fortunate. Paul is 
married, isn't he ? So I suppose he won't 
be with them." 

" Yes, Paul is married, and Thirza, but 
she and her husband are there too, and the 
other son has returned on leave from India, 
and there are Evelyn and Mary. Do you 
remember Evelyn ? " 

44 Yes. She was so attractive, in spite of 
her plainness, that I always wondered she 
had not married." 

11 She seemed to me married to Art," 
Isabel said. " I should think she and Mr. 
Ormrod will fraternize well — not that he 
ever names her ; but I have friends, other 
friends, from whom I hear little things." 



134 JULIET. 

"Of course," said Juliet; "and what 
1 little things ' do you hear ? " 

" It is not much," said Isabel, looking 
into the fire. " But I think Evelyn Daly- 
rymple's fancy is caught at last ; and, if I 
were her, I would not trust him." 

"Nor I." 

The two little words dropped very 
quietly, but Isabel knew how much lay be- 
hind. She was silent a moment, her heart 
welling with tenderness. She longed un- 
speakably to storm that icy reserve, to help 
her in some way ; but she dare not try. 
Her knowledge of events was limited, and 
she felt too keenly the degradation of such a 
woman loving such a man. 

" I have been finishing my Hunting 
Ballad," Juliet said, presently; "but, for the 
life of me, I couldn't help a catastrophe, Bel. 
I sat down determined that it should be 
bright throughout, but in some cases deter- 
mination is a farce, and it was in this. How- 



THE GILBERTS. 135 

ever, I hope it will please you, and I shall 
have it set to music and dedicated to you, or, 
if you prefer, to your cousin." 

" Yes, to him," said Bel. " It will please 
him. He will always admire you ; you are a 
* black-browed ' goddess to him, as, indeed, 
you are to so many. With such choice, dear, 
be very careful." 

Juliet had come up to her with the verses 
in her hand, and caught fully her look of 
significant wistfulness. She stood a moment, 
her eyes fixed on vacancy ; then she bent 
down, and threw her arm round Bel's neck, 
drawing her to her passionately ; and Bel 
clung to her with a sound like a sob of 
appeal. Her own happiness made her 
greedy that other women, too, should be 
happy, and here was one of the finest women 
she had ever known suffering agonies of 
moral dwarfage because a demon of distrust 
had entered into her soul. That was what it 
amounted to, in Isabel's opinion. If only 



i-6 JULIET. 

Juliet could shake herself free from this affec- 
tion that lacked both respect and confidence, 
she was certain that she would be happier 
and nobler. To her it was incomprehensible, 
as such anomalies are, too, to others. 

" Why did she love him ? Curious fool, be still. 
Is human love the growth of human will ? ' : 

Juliet was at present living in a dream. 
There seemed to be a lull in her life, the key 
had changed to the Minor, and she was wait- 
ing until it returned to the Major. A vague, 
unacknowledged impression overlay all her 
actions that this would be when they went 
abroad to Itely, perhaps to Florence, where 
Ormrod would then be studying. During 
these months of his absence she had heard 
nothing from him ; even Christmas, and the 
opening of the New Year, had passed without 
any remembrance. She had half expected 
some sign of remembrance then, and among 
the cards she had painted for her friends. 



THE GILBERTS. 137 



there was one on which she had expended 
extra thought and care, whose flowers held 
subtle symbols, whose verses rang a chime of 
earnest feeling such as can only be sent with 
truth to one, the dearest on earth. But when 
it was finished she had courage and strength 
to put it aside. If he remembered her, she 
would send it. He did not, and it lay in her 
desk. She was not disappointed, scarcely even 
surorised. She had forbidden him to write, 
it would be inconsistent to blame him because 
he did not disobey her. So she argued. 
What she did not know was, that she could 
not have blamed him. Her heart was at 
once too loving and too sore. She had got 
beyond blame, for she knew him now ; she 
did not excuse him either, she simply took 
him as he was, as one whom it was her mis- 
fortune to love. If nothing worse happened, 
she would marry him some day, though per- 
fectly conscious that her life might then be 
passed in dumb following of her husband 



138 JULIET. 

through mazes of flirtation with other women, 
married and unmarried. Her sensation now 
was that of hopeless loneliness. Her heart 
ached, and what more terrible than that dull 
ache whose poignancy wakes the senses be- 
fore day-dawn, wearies them through the 
working hours, keeps them blankly gazing 
into the darkness at night, and even per- 
vades sleep ? Her physical health was 
sound, no doctor could have probed her suf- 
fering ; it was the anguish of God's furnace, 
deep-seated, unwavering ! 

"Though the mills of God grind slowly. 
Yet they grind exceeding small ; 
Though in patience He stands waiting, 
With exactness grinds He all." 

It was fully settled now that they were to 
go to Italy in Spring. Mrs. Mompesson had 
vehemently declared that she would not go 
to the Dower-house, that in fact she did not 
mean to settle anywhere for some time. The 
wedding was to be in Mav, the honevmoon 



THE GILBERTS. 139 



to take the form of a yachting cruise in 
the Mediterranean, and the feasibility of a 
general meeting and reunion at Genoa had 
formed the subject of many long discussions. 
Mrs. Ouin opposed it strenuously. It seemed 
to her preposterous that Mrs. Mompesson 
should travel at all in her old age, above all 
so far as to Italy, where, if she were taken 
ill, a great deal of trouble would be incurred. 
And she thought her daughter's wedding tour 
should be accomplished without anything so 
vulgar as a general rush of welcome in a dirty 
foreign port. In fact, because everyone else 
desired it, it was natural to her to oppose 
it, if only for the opportunity it afforded of 
quenching Ouin's Ouixotic enthusiasm, and 
setting her foot decidedly upon his sentimen- 
tal delight in his only child. Her own satis- 
faction in the prospect of losing her was 
complete. Since the engagement she had 
dismissed misgiving and apprehension from 
her mind, and pooh-poohed them in others, 



i 4 o JULIET. 

being incapable of imagining such irony on 
the part of Providence as a summary dis- 
arrangement of her arrangements just when 
they were to be realized. Her opposition 
was, however, borne down by force of num- 
bers, to Juliet's unbounded relief. The pro- 
spect of their going phlegmatically to the 
Dower-house was intolerable to her, apart 
from the impossibility of then seeing Ormrod. 
She felt that she could not have settled there. 
The time for inertia was past with her ; once 
let this present period of suspense wane, and 
she must rush into action. Never again 
would she be content to sit happily devoted 
to mere intellectual work, teaching, studying, 
creating, or gaining impressions, conscious of 
her powers of fascination but careless of ex- 
erting them, satisfied that life lay before her, 
and that Fate would guide her. She knew 
now that to be happy she must have a human 
love devoting itself to her, some one to whom 
she could devote herself, and all the manifold 



THE GILBERTS. 141 



satisfying completeness of a home. But 
beyond this point numbness seized her — not 
as it might once have done, because — 

"By Fate compelled, she knew not where,'' 

but because she knew a struggle loomed 
before her, and " the end she did not know." 
If Ormrod chanced to be faithful, she would 
risk everything and fulfil her heart's desire ; 
if not — and here came a blank, agonized by 
the fleeting indecision and changeableness, 
and fear and despair, that rioted across it. 

If not — it was only then that her 
thoughts turned to Doctor Thorns, who had 
been three months in Germany, and was now 
at home again, uncured, and likely to remain 
so. His absence had been an absolute relief 
to her, and yet she had missed him sadly, and 
longed for him impatiently sometimes. But 
previous events had occurred in such breath- 
less succession, there had been such a whirl 
about her, such bewildering pressure upon 



142 JULIET. 

her best self and her worse self, her judg- 
ment and her inclination, that this lapse into 
freedom, into unshackled thought and reali- 
zation, had brought her comparative peace. 
It had seemed to her the best thing that 
could have happened, that these two men 
round whom her consideration constantly 
hovered, should both be removed from her 
close proximity, and imbued with that calmer 
atmosphere which belongs to distance, and 
eludes the feverishness accompanying daily 
intercourse, observation, and reflection. 




CHAPTER VI. 



<< 



WHAT EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE .' 



? ? " 



It was about this time that Fate sent Juliet 
down to the Rectory, and furthermore insti- 
gated her, on finding the Rector in his garden, 
to join him in his solitary constitutional to 
and fro. This sort of thing had been tacitly 
tabooed lately. On his return from his volun- 
tary banishment he had found her changed, 
constrained, and anxiously courteous. A 
pall seemed to have fallen around her and 
absorbed her frankness. She made no 
attempt to revert to their old habits together, 
but this would not have made him unhappy, 
rather the reverse, if he- could have felt that 



144 JULIET. 

he was to blame, and her reserve was strictly 
the result of the new footing upon which 
his confession must have placed their inter- 
course. This, however, he could not feel. 
Some subtle perception assured him that she 
thought of him scarcely at all, and that her 
constraint arose from some circumstance of 
which he was ignorant, and which it was her 
intention to hide from him. That this related 
to Ormrod he had no doubt. He could 
indeed have sworn, without any proof, that 
she had seen him again, and was more than 
ever under his influence — a miserable thought, 
which made him miserable. 

They had, to-day, under the interposition 
of what we call chance, walked up and down 
for some time, when Juliet suddenly caught 
sight of a figure in the churchyard — a man 
going down the path to the chancel end. 
His bearing seemed familiar to her, but he 
was evidently a stranger to the place, from 
the slow and careful pace which bespoke un- 



" IV II A T EXILE FRO V ///A/SELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 45 

certainty and curiosity. His back was turned 
to them, as he stopped before one gravestone 
after another, reading their records, and then 
passing on ; but the more she looked, the 
more certain she was that she oucdit to know 
him, and that if he turned, she would. In 
another moment, however, he was out of 
sight ; they had not paused in their walk, 
and were now at a po'.nt where the hedge was 
higher. Juliet, possessed by strong excite- 
ment, left the Doctor, and ran on to a grassy 
slope swept by a cedar, from whence the 
whole of the north and east of the church 
was visible. As she gained it, the stranger 
suddenly turned towards an old tablet that 
was propped against the wall, and she saw 
his face, without his having any suspicion of 
her proximity. It was Gilbert Brunskill. 

" What's the matter ? " asked the Doctor, 
following her. " It's wet there, don't stand, 
Calypso." 

" You should prune the hedge, it doesn'f 

VOL. II. 10 



1 46 JULIET. 

do for the Pastor not to overlook his flock," 
she said, coming down again, and endeavour- 
ing to look indifferent, for it had flashed into 
her mind instantaneously, that she must dis- 
simulate with him, or his excitement of specu- 
lation might prove overmastering. 

"What, both dead and alive? Xo, no, I 
prefer truly to overlook the dead. The only 
thing that takes from the full pleasure my roses 
give me, is a nasty idea I have about the 
richness of the soil. I rarelv glance into the 
jjravevard, there is nothing to see. What 
were you looking at ? " 

li A man who seemed to be a stranger ; 
but I recognized him as a friend. He has no 
idea I am here, but I think I must <^o and 
speak to him, and probably I shall not come 
back to-day. I must be going home. 

As she spoke, she held out her hand im- 
peratively, then left him. and went through 
the little < r ate that led into the churchyard. 
As a matter of course, he now mounted the 



"WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 147 

slope, and perceived the figure near the 
chancel, towards whom Juliet was quickly 
making her way, and who, as yet, neither saw 
nor heard her. He was stooping over a 
tomb consisting of a huge slab of stone sup- 
ported on four pillars, apparently deciphering 
laboriously its moss-grown inscription. But 
suddenly, he started bolt upright, and looked 
round, his gaze fixing itself on Juliet with an 
alarmed and confused expression. She ad- 
vanced close to him without his having taken 
a step towards her, and when she offered to 
shake hands, still remained motionless. To 
the Doctor, suffering from ready jealousy, 
this expression was enigmatical ; he could 
not judge whether either were glad to see 
the other, and yet it implied more than mere 
acquaintance. 

" How do you do, Mr. Brunskill ? ' Juliet 
was saying, with her usual steady composure. 

" You here ! I was certain you would be 
at Marshlands for the holidays," Brunskill 



148 JULIET. 

exclaimed, now taking her hand, and holding 
it with a sort of nervous, searching- preoccu- 
pation, which seemed to question her, but still 
more, himself. 

4< Why should you calculate your presence 
by my absence ? " 

" I am not naturally sociable, and this 
being my first flight, I suppose I felt — owl- 
like — to prefer darkness to light." 

"Am I then, light?" 

" You are more nearly so than I — being 
a woman." 

" When did you learn how to make pretty 
speeches ? ' 

" You can take it so if you like,' he 
rejoined, with a smile. " I was, however, 
speaking generally, in allusion to perception." 

" I can assure you, my perceptions are 
quick," she said, and something significant in 
her tone absorbed his momentary relief, and 
caused his keen eyes again to search hers. 
They were cold and unconcerned, her manner 



IVIIA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 149 



was even and unexcited ; and yet he felt 
that she possessed some real or fancied 
advantage. 

He now made a movement to leave the 
grass, glancing at Juliet's dress, which was 
already wet from contact with the snow. 
Juliet, however, stood still, looking round. 
Before them w r as a large slabbed square with 
spiked railings, and a padlock, like an iron 
cage ; on every other side were stone sepul- 
chres, many of the little pillars cracked or 
even crooked, and giving an indescribable 
air of neglected decay. Upon the railings of 
the vault hung three faded and weatherbeaten 
wreaths, the flowers of which they had been 
made, totally unrecognizable, and adding 
desolation instead of maintaining an appear- 
ance of attention. 

" All these are the Mompesson tombs," 
said Juliet, waving her hand comprehensively. 

Brunskill glanced at her quickly, and did 
not speak. He felt that speech was useless. 



i 5 o JULIET. 

Whether he acquiesced or feigned indiffer- 
ence, her amount of assurance would remain 
the same. But the sensation of being in the 
power of a fellow-creature, and that a 
woman in whom he was deeply interested, 
was novel and exciting. He was thrilled by 
suspense as he controlled his surprise, and 
waited for her knowledge to unfold itself. 
She, too, was excited ; but self-control was 
even easier to her than to him, and she 
looked perfectly calm. 

They had now reached the gravelled 
path again, and were walking down it in 
silence. But Juliet presently diverged, and 
he, impelled irresistibly to follow her, found 
himself in a corner among grim yews, where 
five head-stones, standing in a row, were 
differently inscribed with memorials of the 
Gilberts. 

Then he knew without the slightest doubt 
how much she knew. 

11 Have you been in the village ? ' she 



' « WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 151 

asked, as they passed through the lych- 
gate. 

" Yes. Why ? " 

" Your cousin, Lettice, who is well known, 
is wonderfully like you." 

The die was cast, and now she began to 
be afraid of her own temerity, until his silence 
proved to her quick judgment that he could 
not deny her insinuation, even if he re- 
sented it. 

" And to whom beside you is my identity 
known ? " he asked at length. 

" Only to one other, and that yourself," 
she answered, gathering as much from his 
question. 

" That is well," he said. " Between us 
two it will rest."' 

The severity of his tone of command 
covered his relief, but did not awe her. She 
intended to know more. 

" Have you been to the Dower-house ? ' 
she asked. 



152 JULIET. 

" I have been up the avenue." 

"And the Hall?" 

" I have not been to Coombe." 

" Are you going now ? " 

" We are walking in the opposite di- 
rection." 

" Don't you mean to go ? " 

" No." 

" But don't you mean to return and 
eventually make yourself known as Richard 
Mompessons son ? ' 

" I am returning to Moorhead, and 
have no intention of taking the step you 



name." 



She looked at him incredulously. 

" Do you know all to which you can lay 
a claim ? Do you know to how much you 
have a ri^ht ? — Coombe Hall at least, and 
that is no little matter." 

" I know everything. No consideration 
you could name would induce me to alter 
my intention of leaving all as it is. It is in 



' ' WHA T EXILE T'ROM HIMSELF CA AT FLEE f" 153 

good hands. Henry Mompesson has nothing 
to fear from my existence." 

" But what if, by discovering yourself, 
you could bestow great happiness, assuage 
deep sorrow — sorrow's worst phase, re- 
morse. " 

" I know to whom you allude. There is 
only one who must be suffering remorse, 
and as she, too, is the only one who would 
welcome me interestedly, she must continue 
to suffer remorse. She brought it upon her- 
self. It would be absurd for me now to 
sacrifice every one to her. She cannot have 
many years to live, and if I were to discover 
myself, the punishment would fall upon the 
innocent, and remove all punishment from 
the only guilty one. No, I should not sa^ 
so," he added, hesitating, and then plunging 
on, while an expression of keen pain crossed 
his face. — " Perhaps the worst grief that could 
befall her — worse than she has yet known, 
lies buried in my silence. If I spoke, it 



154 JULIET. 

would have to be fully ; every question would 
demand an answer — useless agony would 
be incurred, fresh laceration of old wounds 
on my part and on hers, new horror and 
remorse such as she cannot have imagined. 
All this would be intolerable to me ; a long 
space of years has not made it seem less so, 
and my resolution has never wavered. I 
think if I had to tell her all, I should loathe 
her : her pride, her imperiousness, her foul 
taunts, caused the misery and the sin which 
haunt me, and would haunt her ten thousand 
times more. Believe me, I am merciful." 

There could be no doubt of it ; each word, 
the restrained vehemence of his voice, his 
eager gestures, and final simple appeals 
carried conviction with them. Juliet felt 
the shadow of some awful secret, and re- 
spected it. 

"It amounts to self-effacement," she said 
presently. 

" Never mind what it amounts to. I don't, 



• ' WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 155 

since it can only affect myself," he rejoined, 
relapsing into impenetrable reserve. 

"But, if you were to marry ? " 

He blushed furiously. 

" That is improbable," he said, in a low 
tone. 

Juliet hesitated a moment. If he pos- 
sessed superior knowledge on one point, she 
did on another ; and her nature was such, 
that she urged herself to use it, because it 
cost her so much pain to do so. 

" Mr. Brunskill, you will marry," she 
said. " Forgive me for trespassing, but I 
must do so. I know there is onlv one 
woman in the world whom you would marry, 
and I do believe — I am certain — that you 
will win her one day. Forgive me. I wish 
both you and her to be truly happy. She 
is under a mistake now, and she will only 
emerge from it in sorrow ; but that very 
sorrow will lead her to better things, to true 
appreciation of you. You have only to wait, 



156 JULIET. 

and that you know how to do You may 
not have to wait much longer. " 

11 How do you know all this ? You seem 
to know everything," he exclaimed, vehe- 
mently. 

" I know sufficient. I would not speak 
unless I were very certain. Beyond speaking 
thus to you I am powerless — yes, utterly 
powerless. I think I am in a net, wholly 
entangled. I cannot get out. I haven't 
moral strength to break the meshes. I can't 
evade them. I am an unhappy woman." 

" I am sure you are," he said. 

This calm acquiescence did more for her 
than either contradiction or sympathy would 
have done : it kept her calm. 

" How can I help you ?' he asked, pre- 
sently. 

"Help vie!' she echoed, drearily, with a 
mirthless laugh. " How can any one ? And 
yet, if any one can, it is you. Make her love 
you, Mr. Brunskill." 



41 IVIIA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? n 157 



In her deadly earnestness she had laid 
her hand on his arm, and he, turning to her 
suddenly, met her glowing eyes fixed upon 
him in a still agony of significant appeal. 

" If she loved you, I think I should be 
happier," she added, scarcely above her 
breath. 

Over Brunskill there swept a wave of 
the strongest feeling he had ever experi- 
enced, apart from the strictly personal. 
Everything was illuminated as though by a 
flash of lightning. Involuntarily he stood 
a moment to realize the bewildering truth. 
Then he turned and looked at her. 

She never forgot the supreme pity of that 
look. 

After it, they walked some distance in 
silence. The sun had burst out, and the 
snow-covered landscape was glistening daz- 
zlingly. A wind in the night had drifted 
the storm beneath the hedges, and piled it 
in miniature Alpine trickery of peak and 



158 JULIET. 

crevasse and glacier. Across the fields was 
a farmhouse, from whose roof the snow had 
slipped, and its red tiles, above deeply- 
sloping eaves, threw into stronger relief the 
prevailing whiteness. Against it, some rigid 
frost-bound sycamores extended sentinel 
arms, and flecked it with shadow ; and a row 
of straw-stacks shone golden in the light. 

Juliet saw it all without thinking of any 
of it. But she never forgot it. It is in 
moments of keen mental crisis that the mind 
reaps the most indelible, impersonal im- 
pressions — to be recurred to in the future 
with sharp pangs of association. 

They went a little further, and then Juliet 
stopped. 

" I must be returning. There is a short 
cut from here," she said. 

" I will go with you, if I may." 

" It leads to the park." 

" I need not go so far." 

"Would nothing induce you to enter it ? ' 



" WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE r ' 159 



" I don't say so ; but nothing would in- 
duce me to live there. Under no circum- 
stances would I ever live at Coombe. I 
would reverse the succession. If I claimed 
anything, it would be less than Coombe, 
which would neither suit me nor my wife." 

" Have you always known who you 
were r 

" No, only since I was about twenty-two, 
when certain papers came into my posses- 
sion through the death of a good old clergy- 
man who had befriended me. Immediately 
afterwards I changed my plans of life, and 
soon found myself settled at Moorhead." 

" How dare you stay there when the 
Ouins came ? " 

He laughed. 

" I enjoyed the risk ; it was the most 
stimulating event of my existence. I rarely 
ran against Mrs. Ouin, but, when I did, her 
haughtiness struck me as deliciouslyfpiquant. 
At any moment she might have been gro- 



160 JULIET. 

veiling in the dust, simply by the unlocking 
of my escritoire and spreading before her of 
a roll of papers taken therefrom. I daresay 
Quin never saw my father, and had no per- 
sonal acquaintance with the Gilberts. I had 
only Mrs. Quin to fear, and my position 
exempted me from fear. When she did not 
cut me, she conveyed deeper insult by her 
mode of noticing me — she never ofave me a 
thought. Isabel was a mere child so lone as 
they came to the Church-house. Now, 1 
suppose, she is going to be married. I only 
wish, with all my heart, that I could convey 
to her, without causing her any alarm or 
unhappiness, the assurance that she may 
settle at Coombe as her home, and her chil- 
dren's after her ; but silence seems best even 
here. I need not ask you to respect all that 
I have said as confidential, Miss Laybourne, 

You " 

She knew what he was going to say. 
and stopped him ; not, however, in indignant 



WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE V* 1 6 1 



assent, but with an assertion of independence 
that took his breath. 

"You are right. It is not necessary to 
ask such a favour of me. I shall repeat no- 
thing that you have told me ; but remember, 
you did not tell me the one great fact from 
which everything else diverges. At no time 
has anything passed on your part to make 
me feel bound in honour to secresy ; while, 
at the same time, I have long had suspicions 
of my own, independently of what you had 
said. Those suspicions I have already 
named to a friend, but he is true as steel ; 
he " 

" Wait one moment, how did your sus- 
picions arise ? " 

11 I always knew there was a mystery 
about you, and it interested me ; but I only 
guessed the truth when at Moorhead last 
summer. The friend to whom I named it is 
Doctor Thorns. I was with him when I saw 
you in the churchyard, and he would see me 

VOL. II. II 



1 62 JULIET. 

join you. Some months ago he talked of 
£oine to see the Gliddons, with the sole 
object of seeing you. I shall tell him that 
you have been here, that you could prove 
your identity as Richard Mompesson's son. 
How dare you come here, if you were deter- 
mined to remain unknown ? " 

" I was certain you would be at home." 

" No ; I don't care for holidays, and 
Marshlands represses me. But others might 
have recognized you. Speculation on that 
subject is still rife. Oh, Mr. Brunskill, this 
passive course may not be right. Mrs. Gil- 
bert, your mothers mother, surely claims 
your consideration. She had nothing to 
blame herself for ; but her suffering has been 
great, and naturally she would thankfully 
meet " 

" No," he said. 

-Why not?" 

" Not thankfully, Juliet." 

" Ah ! " she said, with a deep breath, 



" WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 63 



" there is indeed much which I do not know. 
But still, if you came to your own, there would 
be a sense of atonement. I shall tell Doctor 
Thorns. I must ; it is my right quite apart 
from you. And you say no one knows ; 
therefore you have had no advice, no judg- 
ment brought to bear upon the matter but 
your own. Of course, mine is nothing ; but 
that of a man of his calibre would be invalu- 
able, and you might feel his arguments to be 
indisputable, even if opposed to your inclina- 
tion, and suffer yourself to be influenced. 
How I wish that you w r ould return with me 
to the Rectory, and allow me to introduce 
you. You could not but appreciate him, and 
there would be nothing to fear." 

" You forget that I do know him," said 
Brunskill. " We used to meet when he came 
over to see your father. We have had many 
a pleasant ramble and talk, and I already 
appreciate him very fully." 

" How strange it all is!' Juliet exclaimed. 



i6 4 JULIET. 

" To think that you should have been associ- 
ated with people so closely associated with 
Coombe, and yet have remained unknown ! 
Your resolution has been indomitable.'' 

11 To me that is not so strange as the fact 
that I have at last yielded to the weakness of 
coming here." 

" ' What exile from himself can flee ? ' 
Juliet quoted. " In the end you have been 
human, and I am convinced that there is 
more in it than now appears. The motive 
power to resist is leaving you ; another power 
is intervening, and working up to something 
which as yet neither you nor I can see. It 
was the merest chance that I was in the 
Rectory garden to-day, for I have scarcely 
been there at all lately ; had I not been, you 
would have come and gone again unknown." 

" I have never felt settled since you were 
at Moorhead in summer — " 

"There is Coombe," Juliet said, sud- 
denly. 



"WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 65 

They had been skirting a spinney which 
crowned a slope, such as in Lincolnshire is 
dignified by the name of hill, but which to a 
Yorkshireman would scarcely present even 
the idea of a rise in the ground. In the 
slight hollow beyond, a park unrolled itself in 
gentle undulations and lavish privacy of 
trees, but a clear space around the Hall left 
its southern side visible. It stood upon a 
balustraded terrace, a spacious white building 
amid the snow, the regularity of its windows 
redeemed from absolute modern ugliness by 
the ivy massed round them and reaching 
here and there to the parapet above the 
eaves. To the left, the trees again clustered 
thickly, but not too thickly, now that they 
were leafless, to hide the rapid movement to 
and fro of a dash of scarlet that caught Brun- 
skill's eye at once. A figure was descending 
the steps from the terrace towards these 
trees, and gradually quickened its pace to a 
run. Juliet looked at Brunskill and smiled. 



1 66 JULIET. 

" Thereby hangs a tale," she said. 

-Who is it?" 

There are two of them. The bright spot 
represents Isabel skating in lonely dignity on 
the pond below the bowling-green ; the other 
is Mr. Mompesson. They had a tiff this 
morning ; I think they only got it up as a 
relief to the monotony of sentiment, which 
must cloy at last, surely. And now they are 
going to make it up. Where are you going 
from here ? ' 

" To Stamford, and thence home." 

" Give my love to Miss Gliddon." 

They shook hands and she left him. 

But she had not gone twenty paces before 
her resolution wavered, and she stood still 
and looked round. He was still in sight. 
She ran a little way and then called him. 
He heard her and returned. 

"There w T as something — something I 
wanted to ask you," she said, gazing at him 
with eyes from which all expression had 



« ' WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 167 

been forced back. " In the summer after my 
visit, when Mr. — Ormrod came, what — did 
he — what did you think of him ? " 

" As usual," said Brunskill, dispas- 
sionately. 

She repeated the words blankly. 

"He was only in for a few moments," he 
said, feeling that he had stabbed her. 

" Do you remember what you said — ' the 
proof of the crop is in the threshing out ? ' 
I " 

" Miss Laybourne, I will tell what trans- 
pired," Brunskill said, walking on slowly to 
avoid her glassy stare, and compelling her to 
relax the rigidity that seemed to have over- 
powered her. "He was evidently piqued to 
find you gone, and wished to account for his 
arrival independently of himself or any one 
in the Dale. Thus he said that you had 
sent for him, insinuating by his manner 
what 1 felt to be untrue, and therefore re- 
sented on your behalf. • He did not appre- 



i6S JULIET. 

ciate the remark with which I vindicated 
you. We were glad when he almost imme- 
diately withdrew." 

"Ah!" said Juliet, and it was like a 
smothered cry. 

His heart ached for her, but he felt him- 
self powerless to alleviate what her own 
resolution alone could overcome. He walked 
by her side until they reached the village, 
then again held out his hand. 

" Juliet," he said, in his deep and sooth- 
ing voice, with his eyes bent upon her, 
"never persuade yourself that your happi- 
ness with Ormrod would be ensured by Molly 
being satisfied with me. Never persuade 
yourself to link your life with his." 

Her hand was in one of his, and involun- 
tarily, in his earnestness, the other folded 
over it. He was moved beyond himself by 
her silence, and the pale stillness of her down- 
dropped face. But the pause gave him 
courage. It seemed to speak of an influence 



" WHA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ? " 1 69 

over her — slight, perhaps, but tangible, and 
to urge him to push it to the utmost. 

" Promise me," he said. 

" I promise," she said, still with averted 
face ; and then in a moment she raised it, 
and smiled a smile that haunted him for its 
miserable sweetness. 

" But he may persuade me" she said. 

Contrary to his intentions, Brunskill did 
not, after this, return home. What had 
happened was very different to what he had 
arranged. He had meant to come and go 
merely as a satisfaction to himself, for the 
sake of exorcising the spirit of unrest which 
had seized him after Juliet's disclosures, and 
made him long to identify himself in some 
way, however remote, with his own kith 
and kin. Fate had, however, taken the 
matter out of his hands, and the result 
proved agitating. The sensation alone of 
having walked all day over his own heredi- 



i 7 o JULIET. 

tary lands, among a people whom he might 
own as tenantry, within hail of three genera- 
tions of relations, and on soil to which he 
possessed manorial rights, had brought with 
it mingled elation and melancholy, and in- 
creased the unrest instead of banishing it. 
But he would not have allowed this to in- 
fluence him so strongly as to compel further 
wanderings, had it not been for his meeting 
with Juliet ; the one event against which he 
had, before starting, felt it necessary to guard, 
had come to pass through the simplest of 
accidents, and he could not but catch the 
reflection of her view r of it at the same time 
as he endeavoured by his own calm force 
of will to curl) suspense and strengthen a 
resolution which she had aptly termed, in- 
domitable. 

After leaving her he determined to walk 
to Stamford — a distance of eleven miles — 
instead of taking the train at the little station, 
which, though far from Coombe, bore its 



1 ' WHA T EXILE L R OM HIMSELF CAN FLEE?" 171 

name. Sharp exercise alone could make 
him regain mastery over himself, and con- 
quer the mournfulness with which old 
memories, and Juliet's own unhappiness 
had filled his mind. It was dusk when he 
reached the town, the shop-windows were 
lighted up, and the streets full of dirty 
trampled snow, which had melted from the 
pathways, and was gurgling down the gutters. 
As he reached the " Burleigh Arms," the 
chimes were ringing six o'clock, from the old 
church near, which loomed in massive out- 
lines against the sky. Their music fell on 
his ear like an appeal of eternity against the 
feverishness of Time. How many " little 
lives of men ' had they pealed from the 
cradle to the grave, sweetly striking, as it 
were, from Heaven, into busy human hearts 
beating and hurrying below ; weaving silver 
threads into the plain woof of the work-a-day 
world, and in the silence of night above the 
sleeping town, where here and there, aching 



i 7 2 JULIET. 

hearts and limbs could not sleep, melting 
perhaps, from silver reminder into more 
aspiring and assured notes of gold, which 
seemed to keep time with the steadfast 
" music of the spheres." Brunskill was glad 
that he should spend the night here. 

He went out after tea, feeling unwearied 
in spite of his long spell of walking, and 
sauntered round from the new bridge to 
the old, pausing there, and leaning over the 
parapet, to watch the swollen river with its 
quivering lights from the houses on the 
banks. Was not this " Stamford-town." with 
Burleigh House standing a few miles distant ? 
By degrees, as he recalled the story, it 
merged into his own experiences, and Molly 
Murdock seemed to personify the "village 
maiden." If ever she were "satisfied' with 
him— as he had said to Juliet— it became 
clear to his calmer judgment, that the most 
serious step must be taken. She must know, 
and in justice to her, others. Her children 



I i 



IV HA T EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 173 



must not be put off with a feigned name, 
meaningless and barren, by which they could 
claim no kinship with the outside world, and 
which would send them eventually into society 
as impostors. As he sauntered on, thinking 
deeply, he became most thankful for his pre- 
sent position in her eyes. The worse was 
told ; if she loved him, it would be in spite of 
it, and in spite, too, of the divine pity with 
which he was conscious that she now re- 
garded him. What remained to be told 
would be powerless to bias her, either to 
encouragement or withdrawal, for she would 
not know it until they were pledged to each 
other by surer bonds than the merely social, 
and he could prove his honour to her by 
sacrificing those wishes of his father, which 
had hitherto countenanced his own repug- 
nance to acknowledging the truth. He 
knew, that in everything he thought right, 
she would uphold him, and he now deter- 
mined finally on his course of action. He 



174 JULIET. 

would assist Henry Mompesson to cut off 
the entail, on the sole understanding that it 
had never to be renewed, and would then 
appropriate the portion of a younger son. 
leaving Coombe to him, and taking the 
Dower-house for himself. His fancy had 
always hovered round the Dower-house before 
he knew it, from its association with his 
mother, and her happiest days ; and after 
seeing it, it did so doubly, for its own sake. 
He could be supremely happy there, and 
Molly would be better pleased with a subsidi- 
ary position to Isabel's, Mrs. Henry Mom- 
pesson would maintain the family dignity in 
the county, as being " to the manner born," 
and his wife would maintain her own dignity 
and harmonize with the old place which he 
had elected tor her home. And at this point 
in his reflections, he suddenly laughed aloud. 
Years ago, Laybourne had dubbed him, "A 
very Lucifer," and it flashed across him now, 
that such he was, for he found himself com- 



"WHAT EXILE FROM HIMSELF CAN FLEE ?" 175 



placently considering that the Dower-house 
had been the home of his forefathers for 
generations before they built Coombe Hall. 
In the bottom of his heart, he was proud of 
his blood, and his name. 

The following day he took the train, but 
instead of going north, went south, which 
was again totally opposed to what he had 
purposed on leaving Moorhead. He had 
asked Mr. Gliddon for two days, but wrote 
to him from Bath to sav, that he had taken 
two more. He then went forward into 
Devonshire, and made his way to a little 
village close upon Exmoor. Here he ob- 
tained leave to search the parish registers, 
wishing to satisfy his mind on the long vext 
question of the entry of his own and his 
sister's births, for he did not know at what 
period, after his marriage, his father had 
assumed a false name, whether at once, or 
not until the removal to Cambley-under-the 
Cheviots. He found the entry without any 



176 JULIET. 

trouble ; his name being specified as Gilbert, 
and his sister's as Caroline — Mompesson. 
Three years later occurred the registry of 
Caroline's death — an event always justly asso- 
ciated in his mind with Richard Mompesson's 
eventual confirmed drunkenness. Under an 
old thorn in the churchyard, he found a little 
cross, half buried in the grass, and bearing 
the initials " C. M." The sexton, an old man, 
who, from his painful speech, had evidently 
suffered from a paralytic seizure ; had been in 
the vestry with him, and followed him outside. 
" I remember it," he said, with an effort at 
loquacity ; but on questioning him, Brunskill 
found that he could remember no more. 



CHAPTER VII. 

WAITING. 

Juliet, however, repented of her intention 
of telling Doctor Thorns, and wrote to Brun- 
skill to say so. She feared he must have 
thought her interference obtrusive and un- 
pleasant. After all, it was a private matter, 
which she could claim no right to broach to 
any one, and if he wished, she would not only 
treat it as strictly confidential, but endeavour 
to clear the Doctor's mind of any suspicions 
she might have fostered before her own had 
been confirmed. 

It was a letter which he thoroughly 
appreciated, both for tone and substance, but 

VOL. II. 12 



i 7 8 JULIET. 

for the life of him he could not prevent a 
slight feeling of disappointment, and found 
that he had built hopes which he did not 
until now realize, upon the knowledge and 
advice of this fellow man. Everything seemed 
to fall flat again, and was removed to the 
remote contingency of his marriage. Prac- 
tically the letter made it impossible that 
Doctor Thorns should be told. It would be 
inconsistent and contradictory US) his resolu- 
tion to sanction it of his own free will. So 
long as Juliet had urged a claim to indepen- 
dent action, he could only stand aside and 
allow her to take her course ; but now he 
had nothing to do but thank her for the con- 
sideration, and maintain his opinion that at 
present the matter was best left alone. He 
had, however, some difficulty in persuading 
himself that it really was so, for once having 
thought that he mi^ht be relieved of its 
onus, he found the responsibility more cumber- 
some on resuming it. 



WAITING. 179 



" Yes, I enjoyed my holiday," he said to 
Miss Gliddon. 

" You deserved to do so," she said, 
warmly. 4 ' But what a time of year to 
choose, the whole country lost in snow. Had 
you much snow in Bath ? " 

" None," he said, smiling, after a moment's 
pause to remember that he had stayed an 
hour there for the sake of writing to Mr. 
Gliddon. 

" Ah ! you were fortunate. I hope it was 
frosty, so that you didn't get your feet wet. 
One can't expect to be properly look after in 
hotels." 

" I was all right, I am old enough to look 
after myself." 

11 Of course/' she assented, laughing. 
« And did you like Bath ? " 

" It is a fine town, lying in a basin, 
with " 

" Oh, I don't want geographical details. 
Were you there all the time ? " 



180 JULIET. 

"No." 

" Did you go to see friends ? " 

" No." 

"Good heavens! what a monosyllabic 
man you are ; but I know I am an inquisitive 
old woman. I'm not at all offended." 

" I am sure you're not," he said. 

" Do you call it a happy knack, that of 
making one believe the best of oneself?' 

" Do you mean that I have it ? ' he asked, 
looking up at her ; " I haven't thought about 
it ; but I do believe that if one thinks 
badly of oneself a very bad plight has been 
reached." 

" So bad that probably one would shirk 
realizing it," she said. 

They were sitting in the study at the 
Vicarage, the Vicar having gone to New- 
bridge, and Brunskill was on the sofa, prod- 
ding the carpet with his stick, which he held 
between his knees. lie now got up and 
went across to the window. Hills and valley 



WAITING. 181 



were alike snow-covered and glistening in the 
sun — a sight fair to see, but which was lost, 
upon him, for his eyes at once fell on a figure 
coming up the glebe. 

" Molly is here," he said, in a low tone. 

"Molly!" cried Miss Gliddon. "What 
has possessed the girl, there'll certainly be 
more snow soon. Go and open the gate for 
her, will you ? " 

Thus Brunskill was standing at the gate 
when she reached it. She had not looked 
up in climbing the hill, and the snow having 
smothered his footsteps, he took her com- 
pletely by surprise. She stood a moment 
looking at him before they shook hands. 

" So you are here," she said ; " they said 
there was no school, and you were away, and 
I thought something must have happened. 
I came on purpose to ask about you." 

" You did ? " he said, and a flash of delight 
transfigured his face. 

They went in, and Brunskill hung up her 



1 82 JULIET. 

freize cloak, then made her sit clown while 
he drew off her goloshes, during which pro- 
cess he looked up and she looked down — 
smiling. 

" It is a great pleasure, but nevertheless 
you should not have come. As you have, I 
have the right of gratitude to take care of 
you," he said, waiting while she took off her 
hood, a red cashmere edged with swans- 
down, which Miss Gliddon had given her. 

In the study Miss Gliddon had stirred 
the fire into a blaze and drawn up a deep 
basket chair to the rug. 

" What has brought you in such a storm ?" 
she asked. 

11 Nothing particular," said Moll)-, holding 

one foot to the fire. 

" On the contrary, something very ordi- 
nary," said Brunskill, unable to resist teasing 
her. 

" No, nor yet ordinary," she retorted ; " 1 
always mistrust humility. See how well my 



WAITING. 183 



hair is growing ;" and she shook her head, 
with the result of electrifying the numberless 
golden brown curls that crowned it and lay in 
soft rings on her forehead. 

As they looked, both felt that her charm 
certainly did not depend upon the length of 
her hair, for anything more charming than 
this piquant little head it was impossible to 
imagine. It was just such a head and face as 
Sir Thomas Lawrence would have delighted 
to paint ; and as she bent towards them, 
looking up with eyes half serious, half saucy, 
Brunskill turned away abruptly to rid him- 
self of the witchcraft that was so old, and 
yet always so new, and whose subtle uncon- 
sciousness fevered him as nothing else did in 
the whole world, haunting him by day and 
giving him dreamful nights. He thought 
there could be no prettier picture under the 
sun than she had made as she stood at the 
garden gate, her brown cloak almost touching 
the snow, her face, with its soft rings of hair 



1 84 JULIET. 

framed in the bright hood, and her eyes 
fixed upon him in solicitous inquiry — all her 
thought for the moment bent upon his con- 
cerns. As he went back to his afternoon's 
work, she seemed to flit by him ; it thrilled 
him to fancy he was again looking into 
her eyes. 

But no sooner was Miss Gliddon alone 
with her, than she saw there was some trouble 
on her mind that damped her usual happy 
spirits. So long as Brunskill had been there, 
she had evidently assumed a light-hearted- 
ness she was far from feeling ; but now she 
became grave and preoccupied, gazing into 
the fire with a shadow of sadness stealing 
over her face, such as it grieved her friend to 
see. Then came a sitdi like the catching of 

o o 

two breaths in one, and Miss Gliddon could 
bear it no longer. 

She knew well what the trouble was, and 
that its best relief would be gained by speech ; 
and once having arrived at a conclusion, it 



WAITING. 185 



was her invariable habit to act upon it. 
Palaver was not consistent with her charac- 
ter, neither had she any patience with it in 
others. To tackle a point was her chief 
interest in having a point to tackle, and yet 
she had on occasion a way of doing it which 
proved it to arise from sympathy rather than 
from what she often termed her "pet sin' 
of inquisitiveness. 

" My dear," she said, putting her hand 
under Molly's chin, and gently turning her 
face towards her, " what is it ?" 

" I wanted to see you." 

" I am sure you did, and you wanted to 
talk, and I am ready to listen. I will go on 
rounding the heel of this stocking, and listen 
and help you, if I can." 

" Yes, you always help me, and most, 
I think, when you only listen. There is a 
great deal which I must say if I begin." 

" Well, we have plenty of time." 

Molly was sitting on a low stool on 



1 86 JULIET. 

the hearth-rug, and now clasped her hands 
round her knees, and again averted her 
face. 

" Of course it is about Noll," she said. 

M Yes." 

" I rarely hear from him now, and I said 
something in my last letter about wishing to 
hear oftener if he could spare the time. I 
did not think it unreasonable to say so, be- 
cause, from his notes, it was easy to judge 
that he was spending a great deal of time in 
amusement. The other day I had another 
letter, and I think he had felt sorry, and yet 
somehow he managed to pain me more than 
he had ever done before. He told me that I 
must not expect to hear oftener from him, 
and might not even hear so often, as his life 
was becoming full of other and more exacting 
interests, which were necessary to his social 
prospects. Of course, I don't wish to stand 
in his way, but it seemed to infer that I 
did." 



WAITING. 187 



When her voice ceased, there was a long 
silence. 

" I think it inferred more than that," Miss 
Gliddon said at last. 

" You do — what ? " asked Molly, sharply ; 
and then she added, almost under her breath, 
" I know ; don't say it." 

" My dear child, it is best to say it, best 
to face it, and try to rid oneself of the bitter- 
ness. Have you thought of it before, or has 
it come suddenly ? " 

" I haven't thought of it because I 
wouldn't ; but things have puzzled me for 
some time ; and yet I thought, when he took 
so much trouble as to come over when I was 
ill, he must care." 

" How did you know that he came 
over r 

" How ? I have known since I began to 
get better ; I think the postman met him, and 
told Mag Woodrup at the Post-office, and she 
told Aunt Ormrod, who told Tamar. It was 



1 88 JULIET. 

very good of him, was it not ? He can have 
had so little time to spare when he could not 
even go up into Moorhead, and of course 1 
was too ill to have seen him." 

As she spoke, in her ignorance, she 
looked up wistfully, and yet it was certain 
that she had perfect faith in her own con- 
struction of Ormrod's visit, and had dwelt 
upon it as an extenuating circumstance which 
could only be claimed in her own favour. 
Miss Gliddon was speechless. That an in- 
cident in itself so treacherous, should have 
leavened this unforeseen mischief, was be- 
yond her realization for the moment, and she 
knew not how much or how little to say in 
disabusement. 

" What does he chiefly dwell upon in his 
letters ? " she asked. 

"In one he named the pictures he had 
sold, and described the subject he is working 
upon for the Academy Exhibition in May. 
It must be a fine picture, wild and weird, 



WAITING. 189 



with an extraordinary name, which I don't 
remember ever seeing before. He got the 
idea from a poem, and something he said led 
me to think that Miss Laybourne had given 
it to him for the purpose. She who cut my 
hair, you know. I wonder why she cut my 
hair." 

" For your own good, I should think. 
The doctor said it was quite right, and would 
probably have ordered it himself in a day or 
two." 

" I think there was more in it, and I hope 
I am not uncharitable, but why should she 
have been so strange, as Tamar says, when 
I named him ; and they must have been inti- 
mate when she could give him a poem of her 
own to use for his first public exhibition sub- 
ject. You see, I have thought a great deal, 
after all." 

" Whatever you do, don't blame Juliet ! " 
Miss Gliddon exclaimed. 

" Then there is something ? " 



190 JULIET. 

" I know nothing. I only guess, as you 
do too, Molly." 

" I didn't know if it were her or another 
lady who is in Rome, and whom he seems 
constantly to see. He writes almost entirely 
of amusements and ladies whom he meets, 
and he says this Miss Dalyrymple is very 
fascinating and very clever — quite different 
to what I am, you see," added Molly, with a 
quiet smile. 

But it was because that smile was so 
quiet that it was pitiful, clothing the sort of 
heart-break which resists sympathy because 
it will not acknowledge a need of it, or, in- 
deed, its own existence. The simple story, 
with its suofofestive dawning of distrust and 
misgiving, its effort at pure charity and ins 
and outs of apprehension, doubt and convic- 
tion, told in this simple frank fashion, without 
comment, self-pity, or condemnation, was 
infinitely touching. Miss Gliddon felt that 
the truth, however hard it might be, was 



WAITING, 191 



accepted, and would be lived with and lived 
down, without human intervention. 

" What shall you do ? ' she asked pre- 
sently. 

" I think only one thing is left me to do. 
1 will never stand in his way." 

" There is not so much fear of that as of 
his standing in his own." 

" That is what I shall have nothing to do 
with," Molly said, firmly. " I wished to help, 
but it is true I might only have hindered 
him," she added, in a moment. " If my 
little best is disdained as really too little, it 
still leaves me nothing to regret for his sake, 
and I have only to overcome what there is 
for my own. I see clearly now that I never 
should have allowed him to care at all for 
me. It was simply absurd ; only I thought 
as he did care, then I might." 

Her voice broke a little, but was still 
more self-reliant than self-mistrustful, and no 
tears gathered in her eyes, neither did she 



192 JULIET. 

unlock her hands from round her knees — yet 
this was no " stony grief," but the resignation 
of a patience which trusts in a Higher Pati- 
ence that holds all the threads and thrums of 
life. 

"Act quickly, Molly dear," said Miss 
Gliddon, bending over her and softly strok- 
ing her hair — that dipt hair that had a 
history. 

" I shall, now that some one else knows." 

" I am so glad, so thankful that you have 
had courage to tell me." 

" Is it courage ? I thought it was selfish- 
ness. Yes ; I shall write at once, and he 
will soon be free. It is all I can do for him. 
There is one favour I must ask of you ; 
don't tell any one, and by-and-by I will name 
it as a matter of course to Aunt Ormrod." 

"It will soon be known after that," Miss 
Gliddon said. 

" Yes, she will be very glad," said Molly, 
and then she got up and threw her arms 



WAITING. 193 



around her friend's neck, and gave her a 
fervent kiss. 

" He did care for me once," she said. 

" In his way, yes," said Miss Gliddon. 

But although before this Molly had had 
bitter misgivings, their bitterness dwindled 
before the conviction confronting her now. 
There had been a straw of hope in her own 
mind, scarcely acknowledged but certainly 
dominant ; this vanished when the reasoning 
of another coincided with her own, and 
clearly left naked facts from which there was 
nothing to hope. They mocked her at every 
turn during the next few days, when, in spite 
of resolution, resolution failed, and she hov- 
ered round the one straight course of action 
with increasing dread of the final grapple 
that must come sooner or later. It was not 
like her thus to hesitate, but she feared the 
mere act of putting pen to paper, lest her 
letter should be too cold, and lead him to 
think she had changed ; or too unhappy, and 

VOL. It. 13 



t 9 4 JULIET. 

make him rue his sin and seek to condone it 
by some more fatal compromise. If she 
could have seen him and spoken, it would 
have been easier ; she could have watched 
the effect of her own words, and judged at 
once if she had wronged him or were inflict- 
ing pain. But this was impossible ; the dis- 
tance between them was to her as the Anti- 
podes, and her ignorance of what events 
were daily occurring to and round him, to 
corroborate her suspicions, wrung her heart 
and rasped her nerves. His notes lately — 
letters they were not to be called — had con- 
veyed volumes by their very scantiness ; their 
careless haste had tortured her ; she had 
looked out with meek pain upon the snow- 
fleeced hills lying beneath the cold glitter of 
the moon and twinkling stars, and contrast- 
ing these with Italy, leafless but verdant and 
smiling, had fitted the two pictures into their 
two lives, and shivered at the cold to which 
she was consigned, while he sunned himself 



WAITING. 195 



each hour. She felt herself to be deserted, 
and her imagination constantly busied itself 
with two forms which, in fact, she did not 
know, but whom she characteristically per- 
sonified as of the noblest, losing herself in 
mazes of speculation as to the influence 
of each, upon him who in word but not in 
deed belonged to her. Her claim upon him 
taunted her. Her power to compel him to 
honour and justice jeered at her. It was all 
a mere vain show ; a dry husk, empty and 
brittle, which one stroke would crush to dust. 
No satisfaction, no atonement, was to be 
gained by dealing that stroke ; but hers was 
the hand that must deal it, she must seal her 
own doom. 

At last, therefore, she wrote and set him 
free. 

When that letter reached him he had 
just returned to his rooms from a walk with 
Evelyn Dalyrymple and her brother, who 
was home from India on sick leave. He 



i 9 6 JULIET. 

had gone out to the Corso, as he often did 
in the afternoon, for the sake of falling in 
with the Dalyrymples' carriage, in which 
Mrs. Dalyrymple, as an invalid, took a daily 
leisurely airing ; and as usual his plan had 
been successful. Evelyn had quickly dis- 
covered him in the crowd, the carriage had 
stopped, and after a chat of conventional 
length, there still remained so much to say, 
that he had proposed a walk in which to 
finish it. Evelyn had jumped at the proposal, 
but her brother as decidedly held back ; he 
did not like Ormrod, and had labelled him as 
untrustworthy from the first hour in which 
he noted his attentions to his sister. More- 
over, though a rising man of undoubted 
genius, there sometimes cropped out caddish 
traits which he did not see how a ''fas- 
tidious ' girl could overlook. This " lasti- 
dious ' girl, however, unhappily for herself, 
could twist her brother round her finger 
without the least exertion oi will or feminine! 



WAITING. 197 



humours. He was devoted to her, but fell 
short of the highest devotion, by permitting 
what he thought good for her to give way to 
what she thought good for herself. Thus, 
when she declared she would walk with 
Ormrod, all he could do was to walk with 
them, an arrangement to which neither 
thought it worth w r hile to object, since 
they knew their conversations on Art bored 
him extremely, and shut his eyes to any 
actual danger in their intercourse, to that 
extent, that he would presently loiter, fall 
behind, and lose sight of them. Then they 
talked of something that was not Art. 

Ormrod was not in love with her. He 
would have laughed at the bare idea. A 
flirt is rarely attracted by a flirt, the earnest 
woman attracts the volatile man : the jilt has 
a fascination for the wary, yes, even for the 
wariest, who may have been in the habit, 
during twenty years of dancing, piously of 
thanking heaven each * time he reached 



193 JULIET. 

home uncaught by woman's wiles. Evelyn 
amused him, that was all. She was his first 
experience of a " fast " girl, who would dare 
and do anything outrageous in the pursuit 
of her pleasure — a pleasure which depended 
wholly upon the society of men and her 
capacity for carrying them along with her in 
a current of unwholesome excitement. He 
had been astounded by some things she had 
done, but though his preconceived ideas of 
womanhood daily received overwhelming 
blows when in contact with her, he quickly 
found he could not be scandalized. On the 
contrary, he began to admire her reckless 
defiance of conventionality and propriety, 
wondering that it should Sfive her a charm to 
which she had no claim by looks. She was 
undeniably plain-featured, her hair was dull 
red, her complexion muddy, her figure o\ 
medium height ; and yet at a party, no girl 
knew so well how to gather the men round 
her and to keep them there. Then she 



WAITING. 199 



would become flushed, and look well enough 
to please the most fastidious, but at this 
happy point would be summarily carried off 
home by some careful relative, for excitement 
was dangerous to her, and bidden to be 
avoided by the first physicians in Rome. 
Altogether, she was an admirable pastime, 
but had no influence over Ormrod beyond 
what novelty and the fostering of conceit 
must give. He liked to be with her, and to 
be singled out by her, but — in Spring Juliet 
was coming. Adieu then to these pecca- 
dilloes ! 

The mischief of it was, however, that to 
her this was no peccadillo. For once and at 
last she was not flirting. She had begun by 
doing so, of course, because she could not 
have begun in any other way, and had 
adroitly traded upon her intellectual sym- 
pathy with the treasures of antiquity amid 
which they each day met. When he found 
how barefacedly she was flirting, he at first 



200 JULIET. 

felt repugnance, on the principle of a man- 
flirt always being the first to throw a stone 
at a woman-flirt ; but gradually, social reasons 
absorbed this. He found that familiar 
friendship with her family would ensure 
nim attention from the very circle into 
which he most desired an entrde ; and she 
found that this man — who had flashed into 
that circle like a meteor, with the instan- 
taneous command over his fellows and public 
opinion, which is one of the richest gifts of 
a genius that cares to assert itself — was on 
the highroad to an influence and fame, such 
as she would love to grace. Quickly upon this 
came the knowledge that it was not his genius 
that she admired, so much as himself, and 
such knowledge does not content itself with 
admiration. It did not in her case, and she 
thought she had no more to do to win him. 
than to encourage him. With instinctive 
quickness of observation, she now deserted 
her intellectual tactics for another more 



WAITING. 2ct 



dangerous, because more personal, and 
appealed to his best and most chivalrous side 
by her delicacy of constitution. 

Few men are proof against the fact of 
a woman needing a care which they can 
supply ; when a woman turns to them for 
support and protection, they must respond. 
At this crisis the touch of a finger, the contact 
of a dress, becomes dangerous — how much 
more the appealing glance which signifies 
weariness or a draught, the voice checked by 
a cough, or the involuntary shiver and shrug. 
Evelyn was mistress of all these subterfuges, 
they often came unbidden, and made her 
impatient and angry, and when in good 
health she revenged herself by feigning 
them at convenience. They impressed Orm- 
rod the more in contrast to her wild spirits. 
Gradually he acquired a new phase of ten- 
derness that became him well, quickly proving 
himself efficient in the arrangement of furs 
and fleecy shawls, and learning to anticipate 



202 JULIET. 

her slightest wish, and to claim rewards 
which she was only too ready to bestow. It 
was easy for her to believe that he wished 
eventually to marry her, an idea which he 
knew he daily fostered. Thus he was still 
engaged to Molly, was faithfully attached to 
Juliet, and was encouraging the advances of 
another woman, whose interest he some day 
intended to claim in his engagement to Juliet, 
as though unconscious of her interest in him- 
self. 

It was at this time that Molly's letter 
threw a new light on his proceedings. 

After all, and in spite of her earnest 
endeavour to the contrary, this letter had a 
ring of heartbreak. She did not yet know 
his utter worthlessness, and had not con- 
trasted it with the sterling worth of that 
other to whom she was destined to devote 
her best love and years, and although she 
saw no other course was open to her than 
that she took, she could not follow it with 



WAITING. 203 



cold dignity or yet with cutting reproach. 
Yet the undertone of pathos and regret could 
not but touch even him. And it made him 
uncomfortable. 

This again was a new sensation, and gave 
him a decided check. 

He was not a wicked man, but he was 
weak, and wickedness has more courage than 
weakness. He now saw for the first time 
that he might not only be getting others into 
trouble, but himself, for he would be con- 
demned at Moorhead, and if at Moorhead 
in one case, why not at Rome in another ? 
This reflection made his blood run cold, and 
at the same time flattered his conceit. Evi- 
dently Molly had not as yet felt his charm to 
be superseded by Brunskill's, and Evelyn 
Dalyrymple was each day acquiring a more 
conscious shyness. As he stood, irresolutely 
turning from page to page of the letter, lack- 
ing the decision to accept even the decision 
of another, and strike into a path of strict 



2o 4 JULIET. 

integrity before Juliet's arrival should make 
a virtue of necessity, this irritation of inde- 
cision went so far as to generate pique. He 
had not intended that Molly should take 
matters into her own hands and deliberately 
4 throw him over." This was an advantage 
gained by her which self-love forbad him to 
appreciate. Neither did he wish to forfeit 
the good opinion of the Wherndale folk, to 
which she had formed a convenient vehicle 
as well for their interest as their astonish- 
ment, for he had almost ceased to write to 
Mrs. Ormrod since his arrival in Rome, cal- 
culating that her ignorance would prevent 
appreciation of the exceptional advantages of 
his position, which Molly, in her pride and 
pleasure, would be most likely to blazon 
abroad. Here, however, he miscalculated, 
for what his letters lacked made more im- 
pression upon her than what they fulfilled, 
and every item was treasured for painful 
analysis in her own heart. 



WAITING. 205 



11 By Jove ! ' he thought now, as he gave 
a vicious screw to his easel, " I must put on 
the brake somewhere, if I don't mean to have 
a flare-up. Molly's a simple maiden for 
whom a sop will do, if only she'll throw 
that ring into the Whern ; but Evelyn here, 
backed up by a heavy brigade of relations 
and social position, and a lot of men whom 
she's refused and cut dead, would be capable 
of making a row, unless she collapsed and 
broke a blood-vessel, which Heaven forbid ! ' 

Here he broke into a soft whistle of per- 
plexity, backing from his work, and critically 
surveying its effect. 

" By Jove ! " he exclaimed in a moment of 
sudden inspiration, " She's a flirt, and she 
must understand I am, too , that's what it 
amounts to ; yes, by Jove ! " 



CHAPTER VIII. 

DISCOVERIES. 

When Doctor Thorns, from his coign of 
vantage, watched Juliet cross the church- 
yard, and meet a man whom he took to be 
a perfect stranger to himself, with the easy 
assurance which only old acquaintance can 
give, he was victimized by a maddening pang 
of jealousy. He could not bear to think 
that she was on terms of intimacy with sonic 
one he did not know. No suspicion of the 
truth entered his mind, even when he saw 
them cross from the graves of the Mom- 
pessons to those of the Gilberts ; and hail 
he been able to catch a fair view of Brims- 



DISCOVERIES. 207 



kill's face— which he did his utmost to do — 
it was not probable that he would have 
recognized him ; for they had not met for 
many years, and his thoughts were bent 
on Juliet, and on contingencies as remote as 
possible from the facts of the case. He 
knew his jealousy in the matter of a stranger 
was absurd — a will-o'-the-wisp, dancing tan- 
talizingly athwart his mental darkness over 
Ormrod ; but none the less did it jostle and 
annoy him at every turn, and all the more 
because he could not challenge it now, as he 
would have done naturally a few months 
previously. Their intercourse seemed to be 
carried on on either side of a down-dropped 
curtain, which he at least could not penetrate. 
Instead of having gained influence over her, 
he felt that he had lost it ; and beine a man 
of resolution and strong purpose, this was 
so galling, that his will and wish could not 
but fix themselves the more fiercely upon 
the one desired object. He did not only 



2o8 JULIET. 

love Juliet now better than himself, but in 
his own mind he swore to win her. He was 
close to her. No opportunity of riveting a 
new influence over her should be allowed to 
pass. 

When next he went up to the Hall, he 
found Mrs. Mompesson alone. The Christ- 
mas party had dispersed, only Isabel being- 
left ; and as the frost still continued, and 
precluded hunting, Mompesson and she had 
joined a skating-party at the Tattons'. 

" They will be out of the school-room 
directly," said Mrs. Mompesson, as she effu- 
sively held out both hands. 

" I am come to see you," he said, un- 
blushingly. 

She shook her head archly, holding up a 
warning finger. 

" For Heaven's sake, don't perjure your- 
self, Doctor ! Lejeu tie van t pas la chandelle, 
since I can do without such (lattery." 

She was supporting her elbows on the 



DISCOVERIES. 209 



arms of her carved ebony chair, had clasped 
her hands, and was looking at him above 
them. She made a handsome picture, in her 
dress of silk brocade, her shoulders covered 
by a filmy white shawl, a soft cap, with 
strings tied at one side, pressing the snowy 
puffs of hair close to her temples ; her mit- 
tened hands showing a quick flash of dia- 
monds as they moved. Her unwrinkled face 
bore no hint of the unextinguished pain 
of fatal passion ; the mouth was mobile and 
arch, and rarely now imperious, unless in 
moments of stern thought ; the eyes still 
bright and piercing, from beneath deep 
brows, whose shadow gave them depth of 
expression ; and the whole of her had an air 
of clear-cut aristocracy, such as is only to be 
found in a grande dame. Face and figure 
and style of dress formed a typical picture 
of the lovely dignity of old age ; and she 
knew it, and was never averse to being 
looked at. Those who best realized this 

VOL. II. 14 



210 JULIET. 

human weakness for admiration could also 
realize its value in her case ; for, in times of 
strongest mental excitement and distorting 
agitation of remorse, and suspense, and crav- 
ing for knowledge of past events, the con- 
sciousness of attention to her extraordinary 
handsomeness would soothe her better than 
any medicinal sedative, and restore her to the 
serenity of a reasonable being, ruled by a 
regard for appearances, even in the midst 
of irritating nervous hvsteria. 

" There will soon be a new reiom at 

o 

Coombe, now," she said, when the Doctor 
was seated opposite to her, with a big screen 
of peacocks' feathers between himself and 
the fire. 

" It is a law of creation that everything 
should in turn be supplanted : where there 
is life there must be succession. The ripe 
fruit must not grumble because it tails to 
make way for the pushing bud," he said, 
dogmatically. 



DISCO VE1UES. 2 1 1 



" I don't want a sermon out of church," 
she rejoined, shrugging her shoulders. " I 
am not grumbling ; it is all natural enough. 
I suppose you will be the first to shout ' Le 
roi est mort. Vive le roi ! ' They will be a 
handsome pair." 

" So-so/' he said. 

" You have every right to be critical, 
Doctor." 

" No; that is precisely what I have not, 
being no Adonis myself; but, when I marry 
those two, madam, I shall unite a deal of 
frank goodness to a deal of surly goodness, 
and each will be the better for the fusion." 

" And when do you mean to undergo a 
like fusion ? " 

" When my fate wills." 

" Only the other day, Oliver was saying, 
what a pity it was that you were such a 
confirmed bachelor." 

" Quin shall come to my wedding," said 
the Doctor, shortly, and then he got up and 



2 1 2 JULIET. 

took his departure, greatly to Mrs. Mom- 
pesson's disgust and disappointment. 

" Have you and the Doctor been quarrel- 
ling ? ' she asked, when Juliet came in soon 
afterwards. 

" Certainly not. I give him no chance 
of quarrelling with me." 

- . " You are a wise woman," said Mrs. Mom- 
pesson. 

"It is not premeditated wisdom," said 
Juliet, perplexed. 

" Therefore, 1 suppose, you don't see the 
wisdom. If you were to quarrel with him, 
you would have to make it up, he would 
make you, my dear, and under such circum- 
stances, you would find that he was a 
dangerous man. He has a prodigious 
will." 

Juliet was standing in the middle of the 
room, and gradually, as Mrs. Mompesson 
spoke, her air o( cool attention changed to 
intelligent embarrassment. She realized her 



DISCOVERIES. 213 



full meaning, and felt that the inference was 
just. For the first time, it occurred to her 
that he was a man who could mould a 
woman, by absorbing for a certain time, and 
under certain conditions, her personality in 
his own ; and as she still stood — lost in 
startled reflection, it was natural that she 
should endeavour to calculate the amount of 
influence which he had already gained over 
herself. Mrs. Mompesson, watching her 
archly, thought she had never seen her so 
disconcerted. It is always a trying moment 
to a high-spirited and high-souled woman 
when she feels her independence curbed by 
a more masterful hand than her own, and that 
hand a man's, which intends never to relax 
its magnetic touch. 

" Spirits are not finely touched 
But to fine issues : nor Nature never lends 
The smallest scruple of her excellence, 
But like a thrifty goddess she determines, 
Herself the glory of a creditor, 
Both thanks and use." 



2 14 JULIET. 

On the whole, it was a startling discovery, 
and the more so, because when she resolved 
to be very careful, she felt as though she 
were removed from the bounds of self-solici- 
tude ; and yet the closest examination could 
determine no clue of influence or penetrate 
on her part either that down-dropped curtain. 
She failed to see that the perplexity and the 
danger lay in the shadow of constraint and 
misunderstanding, of which each was so fully 
conscious, that that very consciousness held 
the germ of new and abiding susceptibili- 
ties. 

Shortly after this the frost broke up, and 
with its departure came a rush to the stables 
and an exchange of skates for spurs. There 
was nothing Juliet enjoyed more, than a ride 
to cover, and a stiff gallop across country ; 
and as Lily, too, was a daring horsewoman, the 
schoolroom was often neglected for the hunt- 
ing-field in this her last season at Coombe. 
One day they were riding leisurely home 



DISCO VERIES. 2 1 



3 



from a tantalizing run, in which three foxes 
had been started, and none run to earth, 
when on entering- the Park, Juliet perceived 
Dr. Thorns walking to and fro under a row 
of limes that stood apart from the road and 
ended in a glade thickly strewn now with 
crisp leaves. So soon as he saw them he 
held up his hand and beckoned, at the same 
time coming towards them as fast as possible. 
When he reached them, Juliet saw in a 
moment that he was agitated almost beyond 
circumspect self-control. He seemed to be 
suddenly affected with involuntary muscular 
twitchings ; she had an uncomfortable feel- 
ing that he would either succumb to tears or 
burst into a fit of uproarious laughter ; he 
could scarcely control his lips for speaking, 
and when at last his voice came, it was harsh, 
guttural, and choked. He nodded to Lily, 
throwing a glance at her that was in- 
explicable to herself, but whose mingling 
of compassion, impatience, and trepidation 



216 JULIET. 

struck Juliet into sudden comprehension. 
Yet how could he possibly have discovered 
anything with regard to Brunskill, unless he 
had himself divulged his identity ? No time, 
however, was given her for speculation. 
After that nod to Lily and a gesture to her- 
self, that signified vexation at the girl's pre- 
sence, he spoke rapidly in Italian, which 
language had not entered into Lily's educa- 
tion. 

" Send her away on some pretence or 
other," was what he said, averting his eyes 
from her inquiring gaze. 

It only needed a nod to make her canter 
away. They watched her some little dis- 
tance ; then it occurred to Juliet she would 
rather be without her own horse, and she 
followed and left it with the <iroom. Gather- 
ing her skirts over her arm she walked back 
to meet the Doctor. 

When she reached him he laid his 
hand on her arm and stood looking at 



DISCO VERIES. 2 1 7 



her a moment before he could find his 
voice. 

" I am a fool," he said, " but not the only 
one in this wide world, thank heaven ! 
Where are those other two, the spooney 
fools — anywhere in this direction ? ' waving 
his hand towards the Made. 

" No," said Juliet ; " they are following us 
home." 

" Then let us £o down there — it will be 
quiet. I have been waiting here for you an 
hour or two, expecting you to emerge from 
the schoolroom. I began to think you must 
be cramming a weeks work into that girl's 
head in a day." 

" Why did you not go up to the Hall and 
ask for me ? " 

" I couldn't have done that, because I 
couldn't safely have run foul of Madam this 
morning with the load I have on my mind. 
Then what I want to say will take something- 
more than five minutes, and if you and I had 



2i8 JULIET. 

been closeted together for an hour or two, 
the least the expectant household could have 
looked for would have been swollen eyes or 
a ring. I have not quite lost my senses, 
Calypso." 

" What is the load ? " Juliet asked, switch- 
ing a limp fern with her whip. 

" It is a shame to burden you." 
" You have heard something: of Richard 
Mompesson ? " 
" Not a word." 
;< But you have got a clue ? ' 
11 Not that I know of." 
"Then you think you have ?" she said, 
calmly, determined to stand this irritating 
quibbling unmoved. 

" Think ! ' he echoed, laughing ironically. 
" Yes, that is precisely what it amounts to. 
You are so practical, Calypso, that you re- 
duce my deductions to mere chimeras, and 
make me ashamed to speak of them. Indeed, 
why should I ? What has induced me to 



DISCO VERIES. 2 1 9 

spend my time waiting for a woman in whom 
to confide ? I must be losing my capacity 
for acting, my confidence in my own judg- 
ment. Assuredly you make me believe this 
when you come down upon me with your 
plain questions, and bring the matter to a 
point more diminutive than a pin's head — a 
point that has nevertheless made me feel 
like a madman. I must be nearing my 
dotage." 

''Perhaps, since you can think at all about 
yourself at such a crisis." 

" Ah ! but is it a crisis ? " 

" I have no doubt that it is." 

He laughed again. These laughs would 
have been intolerable to her, but that 
she knew they were vents for excited 
feeling that must otherwise betray itself 
in an emotion against which his pride re- 
belled. 

" You speak with the assurance of ignor- 
ance," he said. 



220 JULIET. 

" It is not willing ignorance, so is no dis- 
credit." 

" Of course not ; no woman is willingly 
ignorant. That is quite a superfluous 
remark." 

He was very rude, but she liked him the 
better for it. It was a lono; time since he 
had spoken to her in this way, and it gave her 
an exhilarating sense of familiarity ; for she 
had no suspicion how fully he was master of 
himself, and employing an unexpected inci- 
dent to carry her with him on a current of 
strong feeling and stronger mutual interest. 

11 Tell me," she said, persuasively. 

' If I knew you would stay here until I 
did, I would not vet," he said, looking full at 
her, and laughing in sheer nervousness at his 
own audacity. It was a lover's speech — spon- 
taneous, significant, and struck both of them 
in its widest sense. 

" Did I ever tell you how — years ago — 
I went once into Devonshire for a holiday ? 



DISCO VERIES. 2 2 1 



he said presently; "and while there, in a 
remote corner of Exmoor, I came upon a 
churchyard, and in it a small white cross, 
marked with the initials ' C. M.' ? Those 
initials were very familiar to me ; they were 
Madam's and Mrs. Quin's. I got it into my 
head that this was a third Caroline Mom- 
pesson, and I looked up the registers and 
found the births of two children of Richard's 
— a boy and a girl. I made every inquiry, 
saw the house they had occupied, heard they 
had been quiet people, devoted to each other 
and their children, and that the father had 
felt his little daughter's death exceedingly. 
Immediately after that event they had left 
the village ; and do what I would, not a clue 
was now to be found as to their whereabouts. 
All I could do was to charge the vicar and the 
sexton to let me know if ever any one came to 
refer to those entries in the registers, or to 
visit that little grave. Then I came home, 
and had nearly forgotten the incident, when 



222 JULIET. 

this morning, I had a letter to tell me that 
some weeks ago a man came to examine 
those entries and see that grave. The sex- 
ton saw him, but could not write, so, as the 
vicar was away, he kept his own counsel and 
awaited his return. It is the vicar who has 
written to me." 

" And what will you do ? " Juliet asked. 

" Do ! " cried the Doctor. ; ' What do you 
think I shall do but go and hunt out this 
fellow ? / will find him." 

" You may not." 

" Don't talk of it— I feel that I shall," he 
cried, with a sparkle in his eyes, a dilation 
of his nostril, and straightening of his spare 
figure, that proved him truly young in mind, 
and will, and purpose. 

Juliet was silent for a few moments, dur- 
ing which, they left the park and entering the 
Rectory garden, betook themselves mechani- 
cally to the walk behind the rcse-hedge 
separating it from the churchyard. Her 



DISCOVERIES. 22 



3 



own words to Brunskill had recurred to her, 
and proved themselves just — Fate was inter- 
posing, the responsibility of secresy was no 
longer to rest entirely upon himself. No 
doubt existed in her own mind, as to how 
she must act. 

"Doctor," she said at last, "suppose you 
were to trace him from here ? " 

" From or to — not unlikely." 

Another pause on Juliet's part. Now that 
the time for revelation, and supplying the 
missing link, was come, she felt strangely 
nervous. 

" Do you remember my leaving you here 
one day, just after the new year, and joining 
a man in the churchyard ? " 

" Remember his back, yes ! " said the 
Doctor. " Even it made me. jealous." 

"What if he were Richard Mompesson's 
son r 

" But you knew him ; you know him by 
name, don't you ? ' 



224 JULIET* 

" By two names — he has called himself 
Gilbert Brunskill ; he is Gilbert Mompesson." 

" How do vou know this c^reat tiling ? ' 
he demanded, standing still and holding her 
with a solemn gaze, that pierced her to her 
heart's core. 

" From his own lips. He could not deny 
my challenge." 

11 Then you have been right." 

"Yes," she said, with a smile, that pierced 
him in his turn, and sent him down to the 
end of the path, and back again, before he 
dared lift his eyes to hers. His fiery 
nature was heated, and yet subdued, by his 
boundless admiration of her ; he did not 
know whether he most admired the sense of 
her penetration, or of her silence, for he 
understood intuitively, that she would not 
have spoken now, but for the law of God 
that the hour brings the man. 

" O rare Juliet!' he exclaimed, standing 
before her with kindling approval in the very 



DISCOVERIES. 225 



tension imposed upon him by self-control. 
But for this approval, however, he was not 
so much excited as she had expected, in fact, 
certainty seemed to curb his excitement. 
She had simply to tell him all she knew. 
Brunskill's sudden change of plans, after 
leaving Coombe, had led to his own convic- 
tion, and she had an instinctive feeling that 
he would not be sorry at the unexpected turn 
of affairs. 

" Well," said the Doctor, " it is a strange 
matter, there is no saying where this tide of 
publicity, that has set in, will stop. Bruns- 
kill was, you say, resolved that no one should 
know, and behold, what we call chance, inter- 
posed by you. Then another little wheel is 
set a-going, through a half-superannuated 
sexton, hundreds of miles away — again you 
supply the missing link. Now, I must write 
to this village schoolmaster, and know his 
will under these new circumstances. He 
will be dismayed when he realizes how truth 



VOL. 11. 



226 JULIET. 

will dribble out, in spite of a mountain of 
fiction piled atop. I think he's a madman." 

" Did you think so when you knew him 
years ago ? " 

" I never thought about him. I took him 
as I found him." 

" He is a splendid man," said Juliet. 

" Physical development is all very 
well " 

" I was not meaning physical develop- 
ment. He is good." 

" I think I will £0 over to Moorhead." 

" The Gliddons would wonder what had 
taken you." 

" Old comradeship, to be sure. It seems 
to me that this is a case for outright speech 
and proofs down, or for eternal silence and 
destruction of proofs. The responsibility is 
partly now yours and mine too, Calypso. 
What would Madam say, and the Quins, it 
this marriage came off in total ignorance ot 
such facts as we possess, and afterwards it 



DISCOVERIES. 227 



were discovered that they existed, and we 
had known ? What have you and I to do 
with State secrets ? Confound it all, I wish I 
did not know ! " 

"He will not allow you to tell." 

"- I shall be satisfied if he will allow me to 
persuade him to do so. And all this within 
three months of the wedding ! Would she 
marrv him ? " 

" Yes, and with a lighter heart — his mis- 
fortune would be his fortune. But Brunskill 
will never take Coombe." 

11 Never take Coombe ! My dear Ca- 
lypso ! " 

" I told you he was splendid." 

" Evidently he is an unpractical sentimen- 
talist too. You have been sentimentalizing 
together. He has posed, and you have fallen 
down and worshipped with the most childish 
naivete'. Ah ! it is rood. We shall see how 
quickly he will yield to the pressure I shall 
bring to bear on him.- No, no, a fillip of 



228 JULIET. 

plebeian blood is all very well, but it won't 
generate anything so Utopian as this." 

He would have written to Brunskill that 
day, but that it was past post-time, and he 
was engaged to dine at the Tattons'. After 
dinner he and Juliet had another talk on the 
matter, withdrawing into the conservatory, 
to the great relief of Miss Tat ton, to whom 
Juliet was unconsciously an object of detes- 
tation, through Sir Marmaduke's admiration 
of her. He certainly could not take her in 
to dinner, but he could admire her very 
decidedly, and did, partly to aggravate his 
daughter, whose lack of sense and tact was 

o 

notorious, and partly because the advanta- 
geous contrast presented by so self-controlled 
and comprehending a woman, really made 
him lone to have such a one at the head of 
his domestic affairs. He never missed an 
opportunity of talking to her. She made an 
excellent listener, standing before him with 
intent eyes while he emphasized his archaeo- 



DISCOVERIES. 229 



logy with two fingers pressed on the palm of 
the other hand, and bringing in an intelligent 
opinion just at the right moment. He thought 
her interest was devoted. How could he 
know that in the privacy of her own mind, 
she was dubbing- the Saxon tiles he was at 
such pains to show her, rub-stones ; and was 
otherwise preoccupied and careless of his 
attentions, escaping them as soon as possible, 
and looking round with sudden sagacity of 
observation for Doctor Thorns. Miss Tatton 
was watching her with flaming eyes. 

" I hate that girl ! " she said, distinctly, to 
a gentleman to whom she was passing a cup 
of tea, and who was a half-cousin of hers. 

" Ah ! " said he, intelligently. The mono- 
syllable did not express want of interest but 
trepidation. Juliet was only a few paces off, 
and he was fearful of her overhearing. The 
next moment he saw that she had overheard, 
for she turned slowly and looked at them. 

It was a look of perfect indifference, yet 



2 so JULIET. 

of full comprehension. Her expression did 
not even acquire a tinge of sarcasm ; but its 
tranquillity was overwhelming and fascinat- 
ing. Lai Tatton's companion at once put 
down his cup and went up to her. She was 
standing in the light of a lamp, in a soft silken 
dress, whose crimson sheen set off the dusky 
paleness of her face, It was a plain dress, 
however, magnificent only in its colour, but 
the elbow-sleeves left visible her beautifullv- 
modelled arms, and against her neck lay 
some red azaleas. 

There was a golden screen behind her, 
and in one hand she held a golden fan. It 
was impossible not to feel that she was in 
perfect harmony with her surroundings, and 
Mr. Dalyrymple, now standing before her, 
wondered enthusiastically " who the deuce 
she was." 

He had bowed, and asked if he could get 
her a cup of tea. 

" Thank you, no," she said ; " I am look- 



DISCOVERIES. 231 

ing for a friend, a clergyman, very slightly 
lame." 

" Ah ! with a fine-cut face and piercing 
eyes — a noticeable man in a country place. 
He left the table early." 

" Yes, with Sir Marmaduke, but I missed 
him." 

"He was talking to Lady Berners, my 
cousin, but she is not a very clever woman, 
and I felt they would not hit it off. I fancy 
he is the sort of man to sit in a corner and 
be sarcastic, if there is no one with whom he 
hits it off." 

They were moving through the rooms 
now, Juliet slowly fanning herself, her com- 
panion looking at her as often and pointedly 
as politeness would allow. It was not only 
that he admired her, but that he was certain 
he had seen her before, somewhere. 

" I shall tell him that," she said. " It is 
too true not to be repeated." 

" Then you and he do hit it off? ' 



232 JULIET. 

" Yes," she said, glancing at him quickly. 

At the door of the conservatory they 
stopped and looked in. It was banked with 
flowers, heavy scented, but colourless in the 
garish light of Chinese lanterns. Apparently 
it was empty, but as they stood, there was a 
slight sound, unintelligible to the uninitiated, 
but which made Juliet smile and withdraw 
her hand from her companion's arm. 

" Thank you," she said, " he is here. That 
was his stick. He can do without it, 
but he favours it, I fear, as individualiz- 
ing. 

She did not look at him as she spoke, 
but it was easy to see that her face was 
transfigured, her eyes limpid and warm ; she 
was impatient now rather than tranquil. 
Since it was not Sir Marmaduke in the 
conservatory, he felt that Miss Tatton need 
not hate her ; and he wandered back to his 
tea, disposed to cavil at every other woman 
there. 



DISCOVERIES. 23;, 



44 So you have left the Syren ?" said Miss 
Tat ton. 

14 Only because she found a better man 

than I." 

44 There are not many such here, 

Ned." 

44 No. I can credit her with choosing the 
one exception," he said, waiving her obvious 
partiality. 

44 Oh, one exception ; I did not mean any- 
thing so narrow, there is my father." 

14 Exactly so." 

Miss Tatton stared at him in unfeigned 
horror. 

44 Do you mean that she is with him 



again r 



44 1 think Sir Marmaduke shows his good 
taste, Lai." 

44 And she hers," said the girl angrily. 

He thought she was going to stamp her 
foot, and, not wishing for a scene, tacked 
about. 



234 JULIET. 

. " Sir Marmaduke is talking to Eleanor," 
he said. " Don't be afraid of the other lady, 
she's inoffensive, totally impervious to a 
grey-haired widower. Neither is she the sort 
of woman to want a man who appreciates 
her indifference ; there is something more in 
her than coquetry. Who is the cleric with 
the limp ? ' 

" Doctor Thorns. Oh, she's welcome to 
him. She's a governess, you know, and he's 
just a clergyman with a good private for- 
tune," was the answer, with a shrug of relief 
and nonchalance. 

" With more than that, I fancy, judging 
from his face. I hope they'll come in to- 
gether presently ; one does not often see two 
such faces in rural England." 

" You are as spiteful as a woman." 

" Not as the most spiteful woman," he 
said, with a meaning smile, and, by way of 
adding insult to injury, he patted her arm as 
she passed him. Then he went and found 



DISCOVERIES. 235 



Lady Berners, and extracted from her all she 
knew of Juliet. She was an unprejudiced 
married woman, with an establishment of her 
own, while Lai Tatton's eyes and limited 
judgment were jaundiced by vulgar fears of 
a step-mother — fears that were groundless in 
this case, as Dalyrymple's well-balanced in- 
tuitions had soon told him. 

" I should like to be introduced to them," 
he said. 

" To her, I suppose you mean," said Lady 
Berners. 

" No, to both," he said, sturdily. " Cka- 
cun, selon hit, you know ; and I'm not going 
to enter the lists, and shake his peace of 
mind just to make a fool of myself. Intro- 
duce me, will you, Nell ? ' 

Later on in the evening the desired 
opportunity occurred, for they happened to 
be again together when Juliet left the piano 
after singing, and, as the Doctor placed a 
chair for her, Lady Berners swooped down 



2 $6 JULIET. 

upon them and begged to introduce her 
cousin. 

11 Mr. Dalyrymple, home from India on 
sick leave, and just come on from Rome," 
she said, with a wave of her fan. 

Doctor Thorns had heard nothing of the 
Dalyrymples, except in the most casual 
manner, since his visit to Italy with Juliet 
years ago, and the name had no immediate 
association in his mind. But it instantly 
flashed upon Juliet that this was Evelyn's 
brother, and involuntarily she turned sharply 
and looked at him, her eyes suddenly dis- 
tressed and distrustful. He did not at once 
notice this change of expression. 

" I have met your friends," Doctor Thorns 
was saying. " Miss Laybourne and I met 
them once in Rome. I hope your health is 
re-established." 

11 Quite ; the voyage did that. Then you 
know my people ? ' he asked, turning to 
Juliet. 



DISCOVERIES. 237 



" Yes ; your brothers, and Thirza, and 
Evelyn. How is Evelyn ?" 

" As outrageous a flirt as ever, and with 
less physical capacity for the excitement. 
She is a strange girl — will only be quiet, I 
fear, when the grave closes over her, and yet 
is, in human judgment, as unsuitable as pos- 
sible for early death." 

" It is well to say ' in human judgment', 
Juliet said, gently. 

"You are right. Did you see much of 
her — sufficient to gain any influence ? ' 

" We were friendly, as girls of the same 
age will be ; but I don't know that any influ- 
ence of mine was of value. Is she still fond 
of painting." 

" Very, especially when it brings her into 
conjunction with clever young artists. Miss 
Laybourne, I have remembered how it is 
that your face is familiar to me. I saw it on 
canvas in a studio over there. It is full of 
studios, you know." 



238 JULIET. 

" There certainly are a great many," said 
Juliet, smiling. " But I did not know that 
my face had struck you as familiar." 

" Of course you did not. However, I 
certainly saw it ; not as a portrait, but fitted 
to a wild thing full of unwholesome mists 
suggestive of malaria." 

" I hope the face was not unwholesome." 

" Indeed it was not, which seemed to my 
ignorance inconsistent, since it was fully ex- 
plained to me that the mystic lady brought 
disease and death in her train." 

" By the artist himself ? " 

"Yes. I suppose you know him well, 
since you sat to him." 

" I did not sit to him," said Juliet. 

He looked incredulous, and she, catch- 
ing that look, flushed painfully, plying her 
fan in sudden nervous agitation such as 
he instinctively felt to be unusual with 
her. 

11 He has had a good memory,'' he said. 



DISCOVERIES. 239 



Juliet was silent. She would say nothing 
in confirmation of the insinuation, and could 
not contradict anything so obviously true ; 
but her expression was eloquent at once of 
pain and pleasure ; and he, certain still that 
she w r as no coquette, though a woman to be 
generally admired, was puzzled. This was 
not the way in which to greet views of a man 
to whom she was indifferent, and yet he had 
attributed her interest to another. His sur- 
prise increased when, after this, she became 
preoccupied, and looked at him as he 
addressed her with eyes suddenly haunted 
and haggard with anxiety — vacant, too, as 
though they did not see him. 

11 After all," he thought, " she is not a 
happy woman, and that fellow over yonder 
has something to answer for. He won't 
forget a sphinx like this, so Eve may have 
found her match at last." 

Presently he went with Juliet to the 
carriage. 



2 4 o JULIET. 

" I am returning to Rome," he said, as 
they waited a moment in the vestibule. 

" Give my love to Evelyn," she said, 
readily. 

He bowed, but looked as though he 
expected more than that. As, however, she 
remained apparently unconscious of any such 
expectation, he ventured forth on to the deli- 
cate ground. 

" Mr. Ormrod is painting for the London 
Exhibitions, and means to come over with 
his work, as perhaps you know," he said. 

Juliet was fastening her cloak and kept 
her head turned aside from him, but a glance 
told him that the blood had rushed to her 
face and that her eyes were sparkling. 

" I did not know," she said, " thank you 
for the information. Then I shall see 
" Cyoeraeth," and its unwholesomeness for 
myself." 

She shook hands with him and smiled. 
But he could make nothing o\ that smile, 



DISCOVERIES. 241 



it was inscrutable. She meant it to be, not 
knowing herself whether she were most 
happy or miserable, and succeeding at least 
in parrying his conviction on either score. 
He, however, was left feeling somewhat 
dazzled. There had been a brilliancy about 
her such as he was unaccustomed to with 
languid Anglo-Indians, and he had met no 
one like her even in the crowded reunions 
of Rome. He went out into the moonlit 
gardens and lit a cigar, recalling her singing, 
her crimson dress against the golden screen, 
her fine figure and slow swimming walk. 
She must know herself to be beautiful, and 
yet she courted no admiration nor coquetted 
with what was spontaneously given. It 
seemed to him that she was far too fine a 
woman for a country Rectory, even though 
the Rector were of a noticeable type and con- 
trasted well in his ardently nervous physique 
with her supremely tranquil yet intelligent 

air of interested observation. As for Orm- 
vol. u. 16 



242 JULIET. 

rod, he pooh-poohed the mere notion of his 
being able to satisfy her, thinking more 
solicitously than he cared to own, that he 
would do best for a giddy pate like Evelyn, 
for he was shrewdly suspicious that Evelyn's 
last flirtation was merging into deadly 
earnest, and feared the effect of unrequital 
upon so self-willed and excitable a tempera- 
ment. The temptation was strong upon 
him to see more of Juliet, to ride over to 
Coombe during the few remaining days of 
his visit, and challenge her further acquaint- 
ance. But honest British sense deterred 
him. He might only sacrifice his own peace 
of mind to no purpose, since she and the 
Rector assuredly "hit it off" in some fashion 
mutually intelligible, and she knew the name 
of Or m rod's Academy picture, which was 
more than he did, although he had seen the 
almost finished canvas. This last reflection 
was clinching. 

" I'll tell him I've seen the original, and 



DISCO VERIES. 243 

watch how he looks," he thought, knocking 
out personal sentiment with the final ashes 
of his cigar, just as Lai opened one of the 
drawing-room windows and called him in, 
with a sharp reminder that the house pos- 
sessed a smoking-room. Lai knew well that 
he had seen Juliet to the carriage, and that he 
should have chosen afterwards to remain in 
the garden where moonlight softly reigned, 
seemed to her the height of absurdity 
and nonsensical affectation. He went in 
obediently, and she was somewhat mollified. 
As he had already smoked, he might join 
her for a chat over the fire. She quickly 
refastened the window and went up to the 
rug where he stood. He looked benignly 
down at her as she approached, and her 
spirits rose. 

11 Go and stand against that screen," will 
you, Lai," he said. 

She innocently assented, and posed her- 
self. 



244 



JULIET. 



" Oh, come away," he said, after a 
moment; "comparisons are odious. Why 
do you swathe yourself in brown mummy 
cloths ; they take all the burnish from the 
< v rold ? Crimson, now " 

" You are detestable," she said, and he 
had the erace to feel she was not far wronqr 




CHAPTER IX. 

" WHERE, WHY, WHEN ? 



"Juliet, did you miss me much when I was 
away from here ? ' 

" Very much." 

" Were you glad to have me back ?' 

" Very glad." 
* "You never said so." 

" I was, however, in my heart. Things 
seemed natural again." 

The practical reason, practically given, 
stunned him for a moment, but he instantly 
rallied. He had a great deal to say. 

" I am going away again, Juliet." 

She turned quickly, in speechless sur- 



246 JULIET. 

prise, his tone struck her even more than his 
words. 

"Where are vou £oin£ ? " s ^ e as k ec i 
presently. 

" That I shall not tell you." 

" Then I cannot write to you ? ' 

" No." 

" And you can do without my liters ? ' 

"Yes." 

He spoke dispassionately, and with a 
slight smile ; evidently appeal would be use- 
less. She sat down wholly unnerved, and he 
walked into the vestry. 

Spring had come, and Easter-tide, and 
that morning Juliet and Lily had been to the 
Dower-house spinneys for primroses, and the 
daffodils that were known to bloom latest in 
the pastures, near the stream there. These, 
with abundance of moss, they had brought to 
the church, to dress it for Easterday, and the 
Doctor had joined them, and taken Juliet 
off to the chancel, while Lily devoted her 



"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 247 

energies to the font. He had looked, and 
talked as usual, and confessed that his rheu- 
matism was better than for many a day. In 
no way was she prepared for what he had to 
say, and when it came out, she was overcome 
by sheer helpless amazement. 

Opposite to the vestry door was a door 
into the churchyard, and this was set wide 
open. The sun was pouring in across 
the graves, with their bright mosaics of 
crocus, hepatica, and aconite, backed by the 
ivy of the Rectory garden wall. Juliet, sit- 
ting on the chancel steps, and pausing in her 
work, looked across these at the Rectory, 
whose windows were flung up to give access 
to the warm breeze. She heard Silas whet- 
ting his scythe ; he was mowing, for the first 
time that season, and a machine was inadmis- 
sible to the old-fashioned poetic aroma which 
it was the Rector's fancy to throw round his 
belongings. The pastoral sound came re- 
freshingly on the air, that was sweet with the 



248 JULIET. 

scent of hyacinths. Juliet knew exactly 
where the hyacinths were in that sunny 
old garden, the border where they and rib- 
bands of crocuses ran riot for the bees ; she 
knew how the booming of those bees was 
borne into the rooms — the delicious drowsi- 
ness it generated when she happened to be 
in one of the chintz-covered basket-chairs, 
with the blinds half down, and no other sound 
to be heard ; and how, although all these were 
such simple accessories to the culture of his 
home, the master loved them, and courted 
them, and was content to spend many an 
hour, reaping reflection from their simplicity. 
Her own happy hours there had been num- 
berless. Now he was going away, and when 
he returned she might be none. Was this 
the end of them for both, the end of the 
calm satisfaction, and absolute delight they 
had given her — of his honest happiness, and 
yearning anticipation ? 

He was so long in the vestry, that at 



"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 249 

last she called him. It seemed almost, from 
the silence, as though he were already gone 
beyond her reach. But he came at once 
when she called, and sat down on the steps 
near her. She was busy with daffodils, upon 
a background of moss, and he fell to work on 
the daffodils, cutting the stalks the requisite 
length, and passing them to her, one by one. 
Their thoughts were full of the same matter, 
but she did not want to be the first to broach 
it, and he w r ould not. She was astonished 
by his new obstinate reserve. 

" Why are you going ? ' she asked, at 
last. 

" I suppose it is a freak." 

" Are freaks always useless and purpose- 
less?" 

" By no means. I don't intend this to 
be?" 

11 And may I not know its purpose ? ' she 
said, glancing up. 

"It would not interest you. You have 



25 o JULIET. 

other and more immediate interests at pre- 
sent. It is impossible to lavish frank interest 
everywhere, and I am tired of anything less. 
You must know that this sort of thincf cannot 
go on, Juliet. I will tell you what drives me 
away — your mind is full of Oliver Ormrod. 
He is expected in England, you will meet 
him in London, if not here. You are weak, 
and you will marry him." 

" Is it weakness to marry the man one 
loves ? " she asked, defiantly. 

" If I were about, you might ask me to 
tie the knot." 

She looked at him with flashing eyes. 

41 You are cruel, you wrong me," she ex- 
claimed ; and, starting up, she went half way 
down the aisle before he had time to lift a 
finger to detain her. 

" Juliet, come back," he said, without 
moving. 

She stopped, hesitated, then slowly turned. 
His eyes were fixed upon her, and he was 



"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 251 

smiling. She was angry, hurt, indignant ; 
but he mesmerized her, and in a moment she 
was near him again, looking beautiful in the 
Hush and sparkle of resentful compliance. 
He folded his arms, perhaps to keep himself 
from stretching them towards her, and said, 
coolly, 

" Sit down ; you are injuring the 
flowers, pushing them with that impatient 
foot." 

When she had sat down, he leaned back 
against the reading-desk, so that he could 
watch her as they talked. 

" Apparently, you don't like plain truths," 
he said. 

" I like truth." 

"Is there any other man you would pre- 
fer before me to read the service at your 
wedding ? " 

" I would never ask you." 

" No ? And still I should feel it if I were 
near, and were not asked." 



252 JULIET. 

" We shall not be married yet ; it is im- 
possible, we must wait." 

He drew a deep breath. There was 
more deliberate arrangement in this, than 
even he had looked for, and momentary 
silence alone could steady his voice. 

11 How long have you been engaged to 
him, Juliet?" he asked, and in spite of his 
best endeavours there was a quiver of his 
lips. 

" How can it signify to you ? " she said. 

" Yes, it is strange that it should, but 
there is no limit to human infatuation," he 
remarked, reflectively. 

" We are not eneragfed — not vet — 1 would 
not allow it," she said, worked upon in spite 
of herself, but still sufficiently controlled to 
guard against more than reluctant con- 
fession. 

" What ! " he said ; " not engaged ? But 
you have corresponded ? ' 

" I would not allow that either." 



"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 25? 

" And yet you think he is faithful ? " 
" Yes — so far as in him it lies." 
The words were wrung" from her against 
her will and intention, and he repeated them 
after her. Then they were silent again. 
She had proved herself stronger than he 
thought she was ; but he would not tell her 
so, she must know it. He deliberated whe- 
ther this were for or against his purpose in 
going away, whether she would, after all, 
find him necessary to her happiness. For no 
other reason was he going, than that the 
wrench and loss and blank should prove 
matters eternally and unregretfully one way 
or another. But on no account would he tell 
her this, though she might suspect it if she 
liked — for uncertainty might generate pique, 
pique torment, and torment give birth to 
love. 

"Won't you return for Isabel's wedding ? " 
Juliet asked. 

"It is a nuisance thatthat is postponed ; but 



254 JULIET. 

they err on the side of sense. If they must 
go yachting in the Levant, it is better to do 
it in September than June. Yes, I shall 
turn up for that. I have promised her to 
be in readiness. Juliet, if you go to Moor- 
head this summer, you can tell Brunskill 
I still think him on the wrong tack in 
his secresy, and always shall, and that I 
wish before Heaven, every morning and 
night, that I knew nothing more than 
innocent Bel herself. It is nothing but 
rank Ouixotism, and I am the victim of a 

***** 

fool's vagary." 

" I shall not go to Moorhead," she said. 

She got up as she spoke, and went 
within the altar-rails with her flowers. He 
followed, and silently helped her to put them 
in their place ; then he went down to Lily to 
see how she was getting on. When he 
returned, Juliet had gone, but he found her 
in the churchyard, and they went into the 
Rectorv garden as a matter ol course. Just 



"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 255 



within the gate he stopped to examine some 
briars grafted the previous year, and she 
stood watching him. He glanced up at her 
with another baffling smile. 

" You wonder how I can leave them — 
my children as they are ? " 

She nodded. 

" To be a wanderer, too ? But it is best, 
of that I am convinced." 

" So am I if you are. You know best," 
she said in a low voice. 

" Don't forget that, Juliet, how you once 
said, You know bcstl' 

" I never shall, I feel it," she answered, 
still lower. 

They went on together, and he pointed 
out to her a golden patch of crocuses under 
the old cedar, reminding her that she had 
planted them years ago. Then he asked if 
she would come down some day and help 
him to pack away his greatest treasures in 
the house, since previous experience had 



256 JULIET. 

proved that curates-in-charge were not versed 
in the relative laws of mcum and tuum as re- 
garded conscientious care of what was not 
their own. She assented with an involun- 
tary eagerness that struck him as pathetic. 
But his cue was matter-of-fact coolness, his 
excitability was well in hand, and he delibe- 
rately avoided either glance or gesture that 
should discover anxiety or suspense as still 
dominant in his mind. He baffled her at 
every point. There was neither resentment, 
sarcasm, nor appeal about him. He was uni- 
formly kind, but it was in a new style, com- 
pounded of authority and indifference. When 
Lily came in, and they had had a cup of tea, 
he took them into the garden again to show 
them some picotees in a frame ; but there was 
none of the old whimsical enthusiasm in his 
air, no epigrammatic turns of expression, his 
individuality seemed to be effacing itself 
under a reserve that chilled Juliet to the 
heart. 



"WHERE, WHY, WHEN?" 2 si 



" When are you going ? " she asked, in 
desperation. 

11 Very soon," he said, without looking at 
her. 

" I don't know how I shall do without 
your letters," she said, timidly. 

" Don't you ? " 

They were standing at the gate now, and 
he held it open for them to pass through. 
Juliet came last, her eyes dilated with anxi- 
ous readiness for reciprocal anxiety in his ; 
but, though he looked at her, it was with no 
accession of warmth. 

11 Good day ! ' he said, and took her hand 
in a nerveless grasp, dropping it at once. 
She was bewildered ; and yet by no means 
could she have charged him with unkindness, 
his manner was that of a friend to whom 
friendship was all that was wished for. Had 
she complained, it could only have led to the 
inference that she wished for more than that. 

But when they were gone he laid his 

VOL. II. 17 



258 JULIET. 

arms along the gate, clasping his hands until 
they were rigid and bloodless. In such a 
grasp would he fain have held hers, and 
kissed them afterwards to sweeten the grand 
force of possession. Also his eyes filled with 
tears, and his whole face with fire and keen- 
ness. He watched the two figures until they 
disappeared round the Lodge into the Park. 
He thought that Juliet drooped a little. 

" She was hurt. She did not like it. 
My God ! how humble she was ! My 
queen ! my queen ! ' 

Thus he whispered, and lay it warmly 
home to feed Hope. 



^^s ^^^ fc^ 





CHAPTER X. 



COMPLICATIONS. 



Some weeks passed, after Molly wrote to 
Ormrod, without her receiving any answer, 
and when it came it simply left her where 
she was before, but for the harassing thought 
that he could not have got her letter. His 
touched on nothing serious, and was redolent 
of airy satisfaction with himself and the world 
in oreneral. He told her he was coming to 
England presently, and should run down to 
Moorhead. The only hint of a change con- 
sisted in his signature, which seemed to her 
explicit enough, since, instead of any endear- 



260 JULIET. 

ment, it merely recognized relationship, and 
that in the baldest manner. She thought of 
that happy day when she pelted him with 
rose petals, and he compelled her to gravity, 
and sighed. 

" I can only wait," she said to Miss 
Gliddon. 

But there was a long time to wait, and 
suspense told upon her. She withdrew a 
good deal into herself, her happy spirits were 
damped, her step flagged, her eyes grew 
wistful, and, above all, she shrank from eroin^ 
to Moorhead. She was sensitively conscious 
that Mrs. Ormrod looked sharply at her, 
that the neighbours were talking, and all her 
■little world agog. Thus it happened that 
Brunskill rarely saw her, and had not seen 
her for some weeks, when, one day in June, 
on coming out from afternoon school, he went 
up to the Post Office. Old Mag YYoodrup 
was knitting behind the counter, but speering 
excitedly out of the window up the village 



COM FLIC A TIONS. 2 6 1 

street. She could just see the carpenter's 
shop. 

"Ormrods lad's turned up; but, my 
certie, he's no lad now," she said. 

Brunskill turned and went out again 
without a word. By a roundabout way over 
the Moors he reached the western end of the 
Moss from whence he could look down on 
Alderdale, lying far below in the narrowing 
of the valley. He lay down in the ling, and 
stared into "heaven's blue' until the stars 
came out. There was a vague throbbing 
thought in his heart of a " fiery furnace " ; 
but mental tumult was too fierce for him to 
connect it clearly either with Molly or him- 
self until he at last rose to go home. Then, 
as he pulled himself together, a light seemed 
to dawn upon him. Hers would have been 
the greater anguish that night ; but the awful 
sting was surely over. She must know 
now what Ormrod was, what he had done 
and undone. It remained for her to live it 



262 JULIET. 

down, to rise above it, to perceive other 
things. 

Brunskill's surmise was correct. Ormrod 
had spent that evening at Alderdale — had, 
indeed, come North with no other purpose. 
It was, however, wholly because Juliet had 
insisted upon his doing so. He had meant 
to avoid it, as an unpleasantness which it 
was desirable to avoid, like all other unplea- 
santnesses. But he was beginning to find 
that there was such a contingency as a cur- 
rent too strong to stem without tact, promp- 
titude, and exertion. In such a current had 
he found himself before leaving Rome. His 
flirtation with Evelyn Dalyrymple had pro- 
gressed fast and furiously, carrying him, as 
he himself confessed, beyond the bounds of 
discretion. Her preference had shown itself 
on every occasion ; he had been alternately 
joked, quizzed, and congratulated, and had 
found the whole thing trying to his temper, 
since commiseration seemed most appro- 



COMPLICATIONS. 263 

priate, and was just what no *one thought of 
giving him. Every one took it as a matter 
of course that he considered himself a lucky 
fellow, and was proportionately happy ; 
above all, Evelyn took it as a matter of 
course, and was as happy as girl could be 
under the infatuation that he did not actually 
propose because his means were inadequate 
even for an engagement with such as she, 
his prospects not sufficiently assured, and 
himself the soul of honour. She was by 
this time passionately fond of him, and he 
never flirted with any other girl when she 
was by. 

As, however, the excitement of affection 
and suspense proved trying to her strength, 
her evenings were curtailed, she left parties 
earlier, and when relieved from the irksome- 
ness of her clinging admiration that met him 
at every turn and filled him with very sincere 
dismay, he would smother reflection by rush- 
ing into flirtation with some one whose 



264 JULIET. 

knowledge of the supposed understanding 
with Evelyn, precluded danger. 

Evelyn had been warned of her danger. 
Her brother had not failed to give every 
detail of his meeting with Juliet, and to 
deduct the plainest conclusions. He told 
Ormrod, too, of it, and watched him, with 
the result of having his suspicions con- 
firmed. He had not forgotten the " Sphinx ;" 
his chief delight lay in working up that pic- 
tured face ; he was looking forward to seeing 
her again ; he had intentions in that direc- 
tion, and they were serious. Outside this 
attraction, women were mere pastimes, amuse- 
ments for leisure hours, in precisely the same 
way as men had, so far, formed objects of 
amusement for Evelyn. Evelyn, however, 
did not see this. She held that flirtation 
was legitimate to eirls, but was utterlv in- 
credulous of Ormrod bein^r a flirt. She 

o 

talked to him of Juliet, watched him jealously, 
and satisfied herself that he did not care io\' 



COM PLICA TIONS. 265 



her ; he was too cool, too assured, too amused. 
There was not the slightest doubt in her 
own mind that she was the attraction, and 
she turned from her brother in passionate 
anger, when he still adhered obstinately to 
his own opinions. In the end, the subject 
was never named between them, her excite- 
ment made it unsafe ; if an " early death ' 
were to be her portion, he did not wish to 
have it on his conscience that he had hur- 
ried her into it ; she was old enough to look 
after herself, and he left her to do so. 

She did it very badly, plunging deeper and 
deeper into the quagmire of infatuation ; blind 
to doubt or danger, and attributing the finest 
of motives where there were either none, or 
of the basest. .She lived in a dream — a mad 
dream, that devoured her physically, and 
steeped her in moral apathy ; reckoning time 
by the hours and minutes that brought him 
or took him away. 

The first shock came, when he told her 



266 JULIET. 

he was leaving - for England in a day or two. 
He would have crone without telling her, but 
that he feared she might make a commotion ; 
and — he had to come back again, and could 
not afford to lose friends of the Dalyrymple 
class. So he seized a quiet opportunity and 
broke his news to her, representing them as 
bad news to himself, and exacting her sym- 
pathy as the preliminary to making her fully 
understand that he wanted nothing from her. 
When he saw how she took it, he was 
devoutly thankful that tact had guided him 
to quiet confidences ; though infinitely more 
compromising, they prevented present an- 
noyance. She cried and laughed by turns ; 
first declaring she cared not a jot, then beg- 
ging him to assure her he knew how much 
she cared. He felt helpless with her ; she 
was past exercising any self-control, and he 
saw clearly that only in one way could he 
control her, as she alternately raved of his 
honour in not speaking, and implored him to 



CO MP LTC A TIONS. 2 6 7 



do so. As it was, she solemnly declared he 
was killing her, she was dying by inches. 
Her hectic flush, thin hands, and burning 
eyes, testified to the truth of this ; her heavy 
red hair was damp from exhaustion ; she 
coughed at every pause. For once he was 
alarmed ; not by the heinousness of his con- 
duct, but by its results. Supposing she 
were to break a blood-vessel that very mo- 
ment, and die, " there would be the devil to 
pay." He was quite certain in his own mind 
that she would do so one day, but his faith in 
Providence served him to the point of be- 
lieving it could not happen so opportunely. 
Something, however, must happen, that was 
certain. He could not get away, for the simple 
reason that she would not let him 0-0. She 
was clinging to him convulsively, and look- 
ing hideous, as he mentally commented, with 
her swollen eyelids and piteous tears. He 
cursed his folly in ever having carried on 
with so plain a woman ; there was no fascina- 



*68 JULIET. 

tion about her now, the moment of deadly 
earnest had arrived, and it did not become 
her. He thought of Juliet in deadly earnest ; 
her exquisite smile of self-surrender ; her 
large calm, 1 and the flash of her angry 
contempt, that was so fine, so persuasive, so 
captivating in its self-control. And when 
he thought of her, he could have gnashed 
his teeth and pushed Evelyn away from 
him, risking all for liberty and Juliet. In- 
stead of this, he applied himself as effectively 
as possible to satisfying Evelyn, whom he 
now loathed. He could only do it by de- 
ceiving her. He took her in his arms, and 
when she lifted her face to him, he kissed 
her again and again. 

Then he laid her on a couch while she 
was still speechless from her new-found bliss, 
and left the house. In an hour's time he 
had left Rome too, praying, as well as he 
knew how, that he might never see her 
again, that — if there were no other way — 



COMPLICATIONS. 269 



death might have taken her before he was 
obliged to return. 

With this rotten morality as the main- 
spring of his actions, he went to Juliet. He 
took her unawares, and almost before she 
had realized that he was again with her, she 
had engaged herself to him, passed her word 
that she w T ould marry him. 

It was done in the white heat of the 
moment. Ormrod had returned to London 
where the Quins then were, but as the Mom- 
pessons were at Coombe, he could not see 
Juliet. Juliet knew he was in London, but 
was content to wait patiently. 

They went up to town early in June, 
arriving late one evening, and the following 
morning Juliet went out to Burlington House. 
She wanted — for some reason scarcely known 
to herself — to see " Cyoeraeth ' before she 
saw Ormrod. She had had a catalogue by 
her since the opening of the Exhibition, it 
had been sent her by Ormrod, with the page 



270 JULIET. 

turned down to two lines of her own poem, 
and she knew exactly where to hnd the pic- 
ture she wanted. She walked straight to it, 
it was hung to every advantage, and was 
already sold. It had commanded attention, 
not onlv bv its freedom from conventional itv 
and its weirdness, but by its high artistic 
merit ; the modelling of the figure was 
superb, the treatment excellent throughout ; 
in spite of the visionary 'subject, the painting 
of it was solid, and though sensitive, masterly. 
And when Juliet saw it, she knew that it was 
indeed herself w T ho was coming down through 
those misty w r oods from the misty mountains. 
Others, too, had recognized the likeness, and 
drawn their own conclusions. 

It was as she stood before it, lost in 
thought, that Ormrod came into the room. 
He was on his way to call upon her, and beg 
her to come with him to see it ; but the 
moment his eyes fell on that tall and quiet 
figure, he knew he had no further to go. He 



COMPLICA TIONS. 2 7 1 



walked up behind her and uttered her name. 
For an instant she remained motionless, then 
turned slowly and met his passionate gaze 
with eyes suddenly kindled into the subtlest 
deeps of joy a woman's eyes can give ; they 
were unutterably sweet and shy, and trustful 
and compliant. She was blushing too, and, 
although she was so still, he saw she was 
trembling. He held out his hands, and 
slowly and quietly, her face now averted, she 
put hers in them. He drew her one step 
nearer. Then came a tender whisper. 

They sat down on a divan after that, and 
before they got up again she had promised 
to be his wife ; not, however, without his 
having had to face another current, and that 
so hopest, uncompromising, and decided, that 
all tact of evasion was baffled, and conces- 
sion alone could cover his arrant cowardice. 
She insisted that he should go to Moorhead 
and see Molly ; for Miss Gliddon, in answer 
to a plain question, had told her he had not 



2 72 JULIET. 

formally broken off his engagement. Con- 
sidering everything, he was thankful that her 
spirit of inquiry had extended no further. 
He did not know that she knew anything of 
Evelyn Dalyrymple ; that she was marrying 
him with open eyes, and made up her mind 
that she must expect him to flirt with other 
women without allowing it to affect her happi- 
ness. She was never sufficiently infatuated 
to think that marriage, even with her, would 
sober him in respect to flirtation. She had 
seen a good deal of the world, and knew 
that he had the roving eye, the ready suscep- 
tibility, the keen sense of beauty or fascina- 
tion, which keeps a man alive to the pleasure 
of pleasing and being pleased. But she 
knew, too, in her honest sense, that was still 
humble and grateful, that she was the only 
woman who had exercised abiding influence 
over him, and that he loved her as both true- 
womanly and noticeable. This knowledge 
was power. She dared to trust in it fully. 



COMPLICA T10NS. 2 7 3 



It had been a busy day at Alderdale ; 
five of the neighbouring farmers had gathered 
to help with the sheep-clipping, and when 
Ormrod reached the brant above the bridge, 
from whence he could see down into the 
calf- garth, they were rolling up the fleeces 
and piling them on a sledge, preparatory to 
housing them. The newly-shorn sheep were 
wending their way in an irregular white line 
to the moors opposite, followed by a man, 
and kept in unexcited order by two collie 
dogs, who did all the work, with the excep- 
tion of opening the gates. Ormrod sat down 
and watched them, glad of any excuse for 
lingering, and leaving himself as little time 
as possible for Molly, As usual, however, 
he covered the cowardly, self-interested rea- 
son with a specious excuse — it would be 
better, kinder, and more considerate to Molly 
to let the men get away. If he went down 
at once, he should run into their midst, and 
every one would hail him and joke him, and, 

VOL. IT. 1 8 



274 JULIET. 

for her sake, that would not do. So he sat 
there nearly an hour, saw the cows driven up 
for milking, the calves fed, the fleeces housed, 
the tar-pots and branding spuds and shears 
cleared away, and finally one man after 
another strolling off with his collie at his heels. 
But throughout it all Molly never came out ; 
the kitchen lattice was opened once, and a 
plant taken in from the outside sill, and he 
concluded that the hand he saw for a moment 
on the hasp was hers ; but otherwise there 
was no sign of her presence, and in spite of 
all the life about, the old place seemed sad 
and silent, and without any welcome for him 
as in the old days. He did not wait to 
rap at the door, but entered, and in another 
moment was standing just within the kitchen. 
Molly only was there. She was sitting in a 
rocking-chair, knitting, and wore one of the 
well-remembered light cotton gowns with 
pink sprigs. There was a bunch of wild 
roses stuck in her belt. Her head, with its 



COMPLICA TIONS. 2 7 5 

golden-brown curls, was thrown back, and 
her eyes were fixed upon the river — it was a 
favourite habit to put her chair where she 
could watch its swirl and sparkle as she 
worked. She was like a gleam of sunshine 
in the gloomy old place, with its wainscot 
and panelled ceiling and cumbersome carven 
chests. 

He stood and looked at her, for she 
had not heard his step, and was un- 
conscious of any one being there ; and as 
he looked, his heart softened, he no longer 
wondered that he had ever loved her ; on 
the contrary, he almost wondered that he 
did not still. 

Then he made a slight movement, and 
she looked round, and started up with dilated 
eyes and quickly-changing colour. 

He went forward and shook hands with 
her. 

11 Haven't you expected me ? How are 
you ?' he asked. 



276 JULIET. 

She recovered herself instantly at that 
matter-of-fact question. 

" You are very much changed," she said. 

" Am I ? ' he said, and the straight gaze 
of her eyes was so pure and fearless that he 
could find nothing more to say. 

Molly, however, waited ; for what, she 
could not have told ; she expected so little 
from him, that the mere fact of his coming at 
all, seemed as though it must fully satisfy 
her ; and as he stood, downcast and uneasy, 
his glance involuntarily fell on her hand, and 
he saw that his ring was no longer there. 

" What do you want ? ' she asked. 

11 I want to talk to you," he said ; and all 
the time he was thinking how bonnv she 
was, and wondering what had possessed her 
to cut her hair and conjure up those bewitch- 
ing rings and curls that made her like a 
picture of Sir Thomas Lawrence's. His cool 
gaze of admiration made her cheeks burn, 
and she realized how far he was now removed 



COMPLICATIONS. 277 



Irom her, since he could as little venture 
upon the old free-and-easy expressions as 
she could expect them. 

" We won't talk here," she said, steadily; 
" Tamar will be coming" in, or Uncle. Let us 



go out." 



They went out, and got away from the 
house without seeing any one, a fact for 
which both were thankful. The evenine was 
very quiet, the river glimmered in the amber 
glow that stole into the valley between the 
sloping of the westward hills, no breath of 
air shook a leaf on the trees. It was some 
time before either spoke. Ormrod had never 
in his life been so much perplexed what to 
say. They had certainly not met as lovers, 
scarcely as cousins, the absence of his ring 
on her finger must be a pregnant fact ; and 
yet it was evident that nothing had to be 
considered as a matter of course — except 
explanation. As he walked he was involun- 
tarily gathering flowers here and there — 



278 JULIET. 

deep pink wild roses, creamy woodbine, 
crane's-bill, a buttercup or two ; and Molly 
watched him, and gradually felt that the 
whole idyll was too much for her. Nature's 
loveliness was intolerable, mocking her at 
every step. They came to a stile, and he 
got over and then helped her. She held out 
her hand before they went on again. 

"Give me those flowers," she said. 
" Give me them, will you, Noll ? " 

She spoke sharply, and he looked down 
at her. Their eyes met, and the agonized 
wistfulness of hers could not but touch him, 
but not to the old love, only with a vague, 
transitory pity. She saw it was so, and 
could not help crying out against it ; the 
crowding bitterness overwhelmed her, and 
she could not face without appeal this fate 
that had overtaken her. 

" Can't you be kind again ? ' she said. 
What is it ? Who is between us ? Be 
honest. Tell me the truth ; I can bear it." 



COM PLICA TIONS. 2 7 9 

A good man could not have dallied then ; 
but he did, not knowing what anguish of sus- 
pense, compliance would save her. 

" What makes you think there is any 
one ? ' he asked, softly, placing the flowers 
in her hands, and allowing his fingers to 
rest on hers with an affectionate reassuring 
pressure. 

" Do you think I don't see, and feel, and 
think ? ' she said passionately, gripping his 
hand and then dashing it aside. " Haven't 
I been thinking for months, and known long 
ago that you were untrue, unfaithful, and 
worse — a coward ? Don't you see that your 
ring is gone ? I was not going to carry a lie 
about with me where every one could see it ; 
I took it off months ago, of my own free will, 
but I have it yet, here," and she took out her 
purse and the ring from it. " I thought I 
would give it to you; but I won't — I can't. 
You might give it to that other, and when 
you looked at it you would think, ' Poor 



2 8o JULIET. 

Molly!' But I will not keep it, either. It 
shall go for ever. So ! " 

She had run to the edge of the Whern, 
and now flung it into the strongest current 
with all her might. She watched it fall and 
disappear, then went back to him where he 
stood motionless, amazed by her vehemence. 
His quietude calmed her, and she turned and 
leant against the stile until he broke the 
silence by uttering her name. Then the 
pent-up agony rushed forth. She held out 
her hands. 

" Oh, Noll, Noll, can't you love me ? ' 
she said. 

He bent down and took her hands, 
moved irresistibly to truth. 

11 I am a scoundrel ; you have given me 
too much at my asking ; you have loved me 
too well, Molly." 

" I know," she said, " I know at last." 

After that she £ot over the stile again 
and he followed. 



COMPLICATIONS. 281 



It was dusk now, shadows were creeping 
into the folds and hollows of the hills, and 
the stars were coming out. Above Blaes- 
field there hung a mass of watery cloud, 
whose edofes were being - touched with dim 
gold, and presently they thinned and a light 
shone through, then opening suddenly, re- 
vealed the moon riding amid all the frag- 
ments of white cloud that were drifting 
across and around it. And as the night thus 
crept apace, Ormrod and Molly Murdock 
went lingeringly through this dreamland, 
where, to them, all but remorse and grief 
had merged into spaces of wan light and 
solemn shadow ; he was talking, but she 
paid no attention and did not seem to 
hear. 

He did not return to the Grange. She 
took the way over the bridge, and when in 
the pastures fell back to his side. At the 
Moss gate she stopped and looked at him 
with a smile. 



2 82 JULIET. 

" Perhaps it has all been a mistake. I 
am willing to think so," she said, sweetly. 

" Not from the first, I did love you- 

" You thought you did," she interrupted. 

In spite of the smile her face was hag- 
gard and imploring. 

"Don't fret, Molly," he said, "we are 
both young, with ample time to atone for 
such mistakes and try new chances of hap- 
piness. There are better men than I in the 
world, and you must let them make up to 
you. You would not have been happy in 
my new life ; it is so different, so exacting, so 
conventional. You will be happier settled 
here with a man in your own ' 

" Hush ! ' she said, imperatively, and 
covered her face with her hands to hide the 
burning flush he could not have appreciated. 
The next moment he knew that the time for 
parting was come, and at that moment he 
longed to kiss her as of old. 

But they had exchanged their last kiss. 



COMPLICATIONS. 283 

He held her hand, begging for her friendly 
thoughts, which she promised him ; and em- 
boldened by her calmness, he drew nearer, 
but she stepped back. Then she turned, 
and he watched her down the hill before he 
went on alone. 

But he did not go back so quickly as he 
he had come. He was susceptible, and there 
had been something about Mollv that had 
touched him beyond what he had ever 
expected from her. She was no child, she 
w r as free from gaucherie, she had taken the 
initiative, and yet had held him at arm's 
length, and the sensation had been salutary 
to his conceit. He sat down and thought 
about her. He could not get her bewitching- 
bonniness out of his mind, he would have 
liked to have sketched that piquant head, to 
have been on free cousinly terms with her — 
terms that would have admitted of the 
snatching of a kiss. She had looked a little 
lady as she sat in the rocking-chair, had 



284 JULIET. 

moved like a lady, and spoken with no more 
of a Yorkshire accent than added to her 
piquancy. But for his folly, she could have 
stayed with them after Juliet and he were 
married, Juliet would have liked her and 
given her a chance at somebody better than 
Brunskill ; she could have come out to Italy 
to them, and enjoyed herself, and when pro- 
perly dressed would have been a very charm- 
ing little thing to have shown about. All 
these reflections were of a character total iv 
opposed to what he had intended, for he 
had expected to be fully impressed by the 
expediency of the step he was taking, from 
the simple contrast of herself to his later 
surroundings. The contrast, however, had 
not coincided effectively with his new plans, 
and instead of bein^r relieved, he was be- 

o 

grudging the loss of her winsome presence 
from his life. It would be nice to have girls 
to stay in the house after he was married 
and settled ; of course, Juliet would not mind, 



COMPLICATIONS, 285 



and Molly would have come in nicely among 
others ; whereas he was feeling as though 
the dismissal had been wholly on her side, 
and he was pushed out into the cold. He 
would have liked to be staying at Moor- 
head a few days, and to have known there 
was a warm welcome for him at the Grange 
any hour. This, however, there was not. 
All was over between them — a fact which he 
found almost as much difficulty in realizing, 
as did Molly, at that moment alone in her 
room with face buried in her hands, and an 
agony of love throbbing in her heart. He 
was turning his back upon Alderdale for 
ever ; and strange to say, the thought chilled 
him, chilled him indeed so far as to keep 
him at Moorhead the following clay for the 
sole purpose of crossing the Moss again in 
the evening, and watching the Grange from 
the hollow where the rowan trees overhung 
the little brook, in hopes of seeing Moll) 
again. He thought sentimentally of his 



286 JULIET. 

wooing of her in that very hollow, and 
wondered jealously how long it would be, 
before she allowed Brunskill to woo and win 
her. He was disappointed that she had not 
asked whom he was eoinQf to woo and win ; 
he would have been proud to confess that it 
was Juliet Laybourne, who, years ago, had 
been so immeasurably above him. and more- 
over, that she had cared for him even then. 
But Molly had shown no curiosity, and he 
had not the instinct to fathom her silence, 
and know that the question had trembled 
too feverishly on her lips to bear safe utter- 
ance. She had voluntarily kept herself 
ignorant, but in the see-saw of her own 
speculations, she was dismissing Evelyn 
Dalyrymple from her burning envy and 
resentment, and centring all realization of 
the blow round Juliet. As days and weeks 
passed, rhey brought her much enlighten- 
ment, she even came to the conclusion that 
Orm-od had not taken that hasty journey 



CO MP LIC A TIONS. 2 8 7 

Xorth a year ago, to testify to his solicitude 
for her, but to see Juliet. Enlightenment, 
however, made her the more morbidly sen- 
sitive. Throughout that Summer she kept 
her trouble to herself. Others guessed it, 
but £iiessin£ had- to suffice them. She con- 
fided in no one, calmly parried all inquisi- 
tive questioning from Mrs. Ormrod, ignored 
Tamars awkward attempts at sympathy, 
avoided the Gliddons, and felt that her heart 
was never so near breaking as when she came 
across Brunskill. It was with him that she 
was most deadlily heart -sick, not that he 
obtruded himself in any way, it was his quiet 
unobtrusiveness, his gravity, and the quick 
lowering of his eyes from anxious obser- 
vation the moment hers met them, that made 
her feel his genuine worth in contrast with 
the other's worthlessness. It was Brunskill, 
too, to whom at present she least wished the 
truth to he known. Instinct told her to what 
hopes his heart would "instantly leap, and it 



288 JULIET. 

gave her acute pain to think of him with 
such hopes, for he deserved so much and 
she had so little then to give him, that she 
thought she never could have more. As 
yet she loved the sinner, and did not know- 
how love can rise and live again, phcenix- 
like, from its own ashes. 



END 01-" vol. n. 



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